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Cicely raises awareness of coeliac disease
8:00am Thursday 31st May 2012 in Health
A HEREFORDSHIRE woman is raising awareness of coeliac disease after suffering from its symptoms for the last 20 years.
Cicely Powell, 76, is one of many who lived with signs of the disease – caused by an intolerance to gluten – without knowing their cause until her diagnosis two years ago.
Cicely has recent joined forces with Wye Valley NHS Trust to support Coeliac UK’s awareness week campaign to help raise understanding of the symptoms, treatment and local support available.
Cicely, a retired nurse, said: “It’s such a relief to be free of pain after all these years.
Following a strict gluten-free diet is not easy as there are so many foods I can no longer eat.
“The local support group has really helped me by providing practical support and there are other people in a similar situation I can talk to.”
Hereford Coeliac UK Voluntary Support Group offers support such as dietary advice to more than 600 people in Herefordshire with the disease.
Helen Spencer, a member of the group, said: “Our local groups are a great source of support for people with coeliac disease, especially those who are newly diagnosed. It’s great to know that you’re not alone and ongoing local support is available.”
Coeliac UK is the national charity working to improve the lives of people with coeliac disease through support, campaigning and research.
Symptoms of coeliac disease in adults can include bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, and diarrhoea.
The symptoms in children can include weight loss, faltering growth, and lethargy.
For anyone who thinks they might have coeliac disease, the first step is to discuss their symptoms with a GP who can take a simple blood test.
If the test result is positive, the GP will refer them to a hospital specialist for further tests.
Visit coeliac.org.uk to find out more, email info@hereford coeliac.org.uk, or call the Hereford Support Group on 01432 820233 or Coeliac UK’s helpline on 0845 305 2060.