Coeliac Disease/Gluten Intolerance

Discussion in 'Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC' started by FoxtrotOscar, May 7, 2007.

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  1. Am newly dianosed with Coeliacs (actually, positive for antibodies but am waiting gut biopsy). Very concerned that I will be downgraded and prevented from deploying on ops as Company Commander - calamity!

    Symptoms are mild (have the shits most days, nothing more serious), and have managed them for four or five years (was initially diagnosed as IBS). Energy levels fine, run marathons, pass all physical tests, no adverse effect on performance etc etc. What is the score? Does HMG provide gluten free rations? Am i right to be nervous? Grateful for professional opinion..... :cry:
  2. Speak to your MO/GP.......ask about Omeprazole.......great for gas bloat and explosive shits!!!!
  3. Thanks.

    My original post may not have been clear - it is the issue of fitness to deploy/downgrading that I am keen to learn more about (as opposed to managing what I consider to be pretty mild symptoms).
  4. I used to suffer with these symptoms. I stopped eating bread for a couple of years. I had the Nairns oatcakes instead. I've since weaned myself back onto bread (Wholemeal types mainly) and as long as I don't eat a lot of bread I'm fine.

    If you can manage the problem it ceases to be a reason to be downgraded surely?
  5. One would hope so.

    Coeliacs is an auto-immune condition that can provoke serious symptoms - I am lucky, my symptoms are mild (and will likely cease when I go onto a gluten-free diet).

    My concern, however, is that each case is not considered on its own merits and that a generic policy exists whereby downgrading is routine and standard practice.

    There must be an occupational health practitioner out there who knows the score?
  6. That’s the problem with the DMS at the moment, to many paper doctor, all to ready to create this or that policy document but never one around to answer a real question.
  7. Occi health, my arr$e

    there is a cpl I know out here, graded P3 by the doc - but the Occi health nurse graded her P7!

    now having to wade through the mire to get her sorted out
  8. Hmmm. I'd have kept schtum. Most people sent to sandy places get shits most days. I always thought that's why you were issued a shovel.

    Now you have a diagnosis it might get trickier.

  9. I don't know what the Army's policy is on Coeliac Disease. However, they will probably be looking at the longer term effects of the disease and their responsibilities to you.

    You may only have mild symptoms at the moment but if you continue with a diet containing gluten (and possibly other grains) you will get worse at some point and then there's the long term issue of stomach and colon cancer.

    If you are diagnosed with Coeliac Disease from the results of your biopsy it is essential you remain on a Gluten-free diet for the rest of your life, no matter how minor your physical symptoms are at present.

    So presumably from the Army's point of view it is a matter of whether they can guarantee you access to a gluten-free diet.

    On a side note, if you haven't had your biopsy yet you should continue to eat foods containing gluten. The visible effects of the CD in your gut disappear very quickly once you begin a GF diet.

    And on a personal level, speaking as a Coeliac myself, it is a serious medical condition which is easily treated with a GF diet but it is essential that you follow the diet to the letter. Also be prepared for having problems with other foods like corn and dairy products. I've been on a GF diet for over five years and just recently started to have problems with corn and now have to remove that from my diet. I essentially live on fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. And only drink water, OJ and black tea.

    Fortunately these days people are becoming much more aware of CD, especially regarding food packaging in the UK which often now lists products which are GF. The variety of GF bread, biscuits, pasta, etc are getting much better and cheaper too. These can be bought on prescription as long as you are diagnosed by the biopsy.
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  10. Psywar

    Many thanks - got all of that. The UK Coeliac society appears to be a mine of information.

    Get your point about duty of care (ie the Army's duty of care to me not to send me somewhere where it can't provide a guarantee of GFD).

    There is an argument (that i am already rehearsing) that says that the Army has a duty of care to me to allow me to fulfil potential and have as full a career as possible by not restricting my employment unnecesarily by:

    a. Not developing Gluten Free ORP or similar

    b. Restricting all operational duties when, in reality, a tour to locations where catering infrastructure is well developed/long-established would seem perfectly reasonable.

    We'll see :?: . Thanks for taking the trouble to reply.
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I'm sure a mate of mine had this for his last 5 years in (5 years diagnosed that is) He ended up doing ACIO all over the South West till his 22 was up and last heard was looking to sue/claim disability for it!
  12. FoxtrotOscar, that's a very good point and well worth pursuing. There is no reason at all why the MOD cannot have GF menus available. In fact, overseas it should be easier than in the UK and other western countries.
    Probably the issue for them will be expense as a GF diet requires fresh, unprocessed foods. It's just astounding the number of process foods that contain wheat flour! Since emigrating to the US, the big problem for me is corn syrup which is in everything in replace of cane sugar.

    Also the other difficulty for the Army meeting a Coeliac's needs is the potential problems with other foods like dairy products. I also have a problem with eggs and chicken. So if the Army will supply a GF menu, they will also have to think about Dairy/lactose free menus as well. Again no reason why they couldn't, just the counter arguments they would no doubt make for not doing it.

    As for your health and ability to do your job, it's very possible that you will have higher energy levels and better cognitive abilities once on a GF diet.

    I'm pleased you've caught the problem early. For CD a diagnosis in five years is quick! Also you didn't completely crash which happened to me and is much harder to bounce back from.

    I hope this doesn't affect your career as there's no reason it should. Good luck!
  13. HI! I know this is several years on, but I'm 19 and newly diagnosed with coeliac disease, which has of course taken any chance i had of joining the military. And i just wondered what happened with your case? I have actually written to the head of the army questioning about the fact coeliacs cant join. Hoping for a response soon.
  14. Hi,

    Im about to turn 18, also wanting to apply to army but wondering about coeliac disease too- been diagnosed for 14 years... any idea whether I’d be allowed to join?