Frequently Asked Questions Find everything you need to know about coeliac disease, the gluten free diet and the work we do.

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How can my small contribution make a difference?

Amounts both large and small can help make a real difference to the lives of those with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. We are grateful for any amount raised and we put funds raised towards research, campaigns and support for our Members.

Does coeliac disease only affect Europeans?

Coeliac disease affects all ethnic groups and is common in Europe and North America, as well as in southern Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America.

Can you ‘grow out’ of coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune condition and the gluten free diet is the only treatment for it. If gluten is introduced back into the diet at a later date, the immune system will react and the gut lining will become damaged again.

Once you develop coeliac disease, you must avoid gluten for the rest of your life.

Surely a breadcrumb wouldn’t hurt someone with coeliac disease?

Even very small amounts of gluten can be damaging to people with coeliac disease. Therefore, taking sensible steps to avoid cross contamination with gluten is important.

Is there any advice for people with coeliac disease who are pregnant?

Pregnancy holds no greater risks for women diagnosed with coeliac disease than those without, but it is important you follow a strict gluten free diet and make sure you get a good intake of calcium and iron.

It is also important that people with coeliac disease are followed up regularly, particularly at times of stress, such as pregnancy.

Can the Community pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods scheme be followed in rural and urban areas?

There is no reason why this scheme cannot be successful in either rural or urban areas. Using an online claim service would ensure efficiency and that GP dispensaries work to the same enhanced service contract as the pharmacies.

I’m confused by the ‘very low gluten’ label. Can I eat foods labelled as this?

Foods labelled ‘very low gluten’ have to be between 21 and 100 part per million gluten. This can only apply to specialist foods made for people with coeliac disease and we are not seeing this label in use in the UK. This level is suitable for most people with coeliac disease but if you are particularly sensitive, it may not be right for you.


What does 'gluten-free' really mean?

The term 'gluten-free' implies no gluten, but in practice it is not possible to test for a zero level of gluten. Research has shown that people with coeliac disease are able to safely tolerate a very small amount of gluten. As a result low levels of gluten are allowed in products that are labelled gluten-free. When you see the term gluten-free this means that the food contains no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten.

Are there any incentives for pharmacists taking part in the Community pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods scheme?

Introducing a pharmacy led supply scheme allows better stock control of gluten-free foods for pharmacists as well as providing a more flexible service to improve the patient experience.

Pharmacists and GP dispensaries are paid a service charge at six monthly intervals for each patient who accesses the service. When the scheme in Northamptonshire was introduced it was run as an Enhanced Service with funding for this element of the contract coming from Primary Care Contracting budgets.