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The importance of screening patients with unexplained anaemia

Unexplained anaemia

Coeliac UK and the RCGP are both working to support GPs in the diagnosis of coeliac disease, a common condition that affects one in every 100 people.1 

While the diagnosis of coeliac disease has improved over recent years, it remains low with only 24% of those with the condition benefiting from a diagnosis.2

Iron-deficiency occurs in 30-50% of patients at diagnosis, which makes sense, as coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition caused by a reaction to gluten in our food, which damages the small intestine, making it hard to absorb nutrients from food.3

The damage caused by coeliac disease can cause malabsorptive signs and symptoms, which are not easy to spot. But these symptoms include iron, B12 and folate deficiency, so it is recommended that serological testing for coeliac disease is offered to patients with unexplained iron, B12 and folate deficiency, as per NICE Guidance NG20.4

Learn more about identifying, diagnosing and managing coeliac disease by completing the RCGP coeliac disease learning module here.

References
1. NHS Choices. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Coeliac-disease/Pages/introduction.aspx; last accessed April 2016.
2. West J, et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2014;109:757-768.Ludvigsson JF, et al. Am Med Inform Assoc 2013; 20:e306-e310.
3. Ludvigsson JF, et al. Am Med Inform Assoc 2013; 20:e306-e310.
4. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Coeliac disease: recognition, assessment and management (NG20). 2015. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

 Sponsored by an educational grant from Thermo Fisher Scientific.

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