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TV campaign aims to identify ‘thousands’ with undiagnosed coeliac disease



A TV advert aiming to encourange ‘thousands’ to see their GP about undiagnosed coeliac disease it set to premiere on several channels today.

The advert, which forms part of a wider campaign by the national charity Coeliac UK and is narrated by coeliac disease sufferer and TV acress Caroline Quentin, shows people struggling with some of the most commonly reported symptoms of coeliac disease, such as frequent bouts of diarrhoea, fatigue and stomach pain.

Viewers are encouraged to fill out an online assessment form which, if the person displays any related symptom, has an irritable bowel syndrom (IBS) diagnosis or has a close family member with a coeliac disease diagnosis, prompts them to visit their GP practice for a blood test.

The charity said the campaign, which also aims to target patients via displays in GP waiting rooms, comes as it currently takes an average of 13 years for a patient to receive a diagnosis of the disease which makes sufferers intolerant to gluten.

The odds of developing the disease are one in 100 in the UK, rising to one in 10 for close family members of sufferers. Younger adults and those from lower socioeconomic classes are the least likely to have received a diagnosis for their condition, the charity said.

Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet said the TV advert, set to air on channels including ITV, Sky1 and Dave, would ‘reach millions of viewers’, and hopefully ‘put thousands suffering with symptoms on a pathway to diagnosis’, avoiding ‘potentially life threatening long term health complications’ as a result.

She said: ‘With half a million people living with undiagnosed coeliac disease we must take radical action to turn around this horrendous situation.’

NICE guidelines on coeliac disease, on which the online assessment is based, are due to be revised in September to help improve management of the disease.