Coeliac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity and the mature person

November 20, 2008

Coeliac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity may come from genetic pre-disposition, long term deterioration of the digestive system and general ageing.

Sometimes a severe viral infection and /or its treatment may trigger the condition.

People often mention a severe illness and anti-biotics in association with the onset of their condition: that their immune system has been severely stressed in some way.

I do not know whether this is coincidental or not.

I often meet mature people who are unhappy, aggrieved, confused and sorely challenged about the fact that ‘suddenly’ they can no longer eat wheat or dairy products or whatever.

Their view is that they have been eating them all their life without a problem – why do or should they have a problem now? They just don’t want to know about or have to deal with it.

Celiac on mature people

There are others who are thrilled to have found a solution to their debilitating health problems.

Some parents reported they had gone on a gluten free diet in support of two of their four children who were coeliac.

Although not coeliac themselves they had, in the process, discovered they were both gluten sensitive and were in raptures about the benefits of their newly adopted gluten free diets: both had lost weight, had more energy and the mother’s chronic conjunctivitis problem had cleared up without any treatment or medication.

Previously, the conjunctivitis had not responded to treatment.

Another young man in his mid thirties had suffered from undiagnosed coeliac disease, severe depression, psychotic episodes and mild eczema from the age of nine.

On a gluten free diet since he was thirty-two, his gut had healed, his depression lifted and he was enjoying life and cooking: it was good to be alive and he was glad to have found a solution in gluten free food and our products.

Unfortunately, whether you want to know about it or not, once you’ve become a coeliac or gluten sensitive the only sensible answer is to totally exclude gluten from your diet.

There is no option to this lifetime commitment: you have to come to terms with your health condition. If you don’t, you risk, at best, continually feeling slightly off colour or, in a worst case scenario, becoming seriously and, perhaps, life threateningly ill.

There is a danger of serious weight loss, lack of energy, osteoporosis, depression, various immuno and nutrition deficiency issues and the risk of contracting various cancers of the bowel, lymph system and/or of the throat at much higher rates than for the general community.

As a mature person, you may have been mildly gluten sensitive or Coeliac and felt vaguely uncomfortable and think that is how life is.

You get used to it, you live with it and soldier on regardless. But in other instances you can be or become chronically ill.

The good news is, that if you adopt a strictly gluten free diet your health and quality of life will often improve dramatically and your general risks of illness will match those of the broader community.

While at first the change to gluten free foods and meal preparation may seem a bit daunting it soon becomes second nature.

It is fairly simple and, if approached in the right manner, even fun and creative: all that is required is a sense of humour, patience,curiosity and some persistence.

A small price to pay to be free of any chronic or debilitating illness.


Paul Smith

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