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Frequently Asked Questions

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How common is coeliac disease?

It is thought that one in 100 people in the UK has coeliac disease but only 24% of these people are diagnosed. We estimate there are nearly half a million people who have coeliac disease but aren’t yet diagnosed.

How long do I have to eat gluten before being tested?

The recommendation is to eat some gluten in more than one meal every day for at least six weeks before getting tested for coeliac disease. Find out why you should keep eating gluten throughout the diagnosis process.

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.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where the body's bones become brittle and are more likely to break.

Is there a cure for coeliac disease?

At the moment there is no cure and the treatment is a life long gluten-free diet. There is, however, research underway to develop a vaccine.

If I have coeliac disease, are my children more likely to also have it?

Coeliac disease does run in families but not in a predictable way. Around one in ten close relatives of people with coeliac disease (for example, father, mother, son, daughter) will be at risk of coeliac disease, so if you have a relation with coeliac disease you should be aware of the symptoms.

Why do I have to be eating gluten to be tested?

The blood tests look for antibodies that your body produces when you eat gluten so if you are not eating gluten you will not be producing antibodies and so the result will come back negative. It is recommended that you eat some gluten in more than one meal every day for at least six weeks before testing.

What are the symptoms in babies?

In babies, symptoms may develop after weaning onto cereals that contain gluten. Symptoms in babies include:

  • muscle wasting in the arms and legs
  • bloated tummy
  • irritability
  • failure to gain weight or lose weight after previously growing well.

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.

I have coeliac disease, when should I wean my baby?

Children who have an increased risk of coeliac disease should still be weaned in the same way as any other child. 

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