Coeliac disease affects one in 100 people in the UK, but only one in every eight sufferers has been diagnosed with the condition.
Now a special event taking place in Hampshire aims to help those living with the disease with their lives.
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease. Gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye triggers an immune reaction in people with coeliac disease. This means that eating gluten damages the
lining of the small intestine.
Recent research has shown that it takes an average of 13 years to be diagnosed from the first onset of symptoms of coeliac disease, to being diagnosed with the condition. Often people explain away
their symptoms as a stomach upset or having eaten too much, but Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease, is urging people to think again. Are the symptoms a one off? Do
they get worse when you eat more foods containing gluten?
Gluten found in wheat, barely and rye causes the body's immune system to attack itself creating symptoms ranging from diarrhoea and bloating to infertility and cancer.
To help raise awareness for the disease The Wessex Group of Coeliac UK - the leading UK charity supporting people with gluten intolerance - is holding a Gluten Free Food Fair at Winchester Guildhall this Saturday.
The event is the chance to meet and talk to the major gluten-free food companies and a number of local suppliers, many of whom will be offering samples of their latest products. Many of the
suppliers will be offering samples of their latest products so you can try before you buy.
Also two health professionals have kindly offered to speak at the Fair - Dr David Lloyd, Gastroenterology/Nutrition Consultant, from the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester will talk about
"What's New in Coeliac Disease?" and Norma McGough, Head of Diet and Health at Coeliac UK, who will be telling us "What Coeliac UK is doing for its members - a round-up of research, news and other
Members of the Wessex Group committee will also be on hand to offer advice and answer any questions you may have about coeliac disease and the gluten-free diet.
Doors will open at 10:30am and the event will finish at 2:30pm. The entry fee will be just £2 for adults and child entry (under 16's) will be free.