what is dermatitis herpetiformis?
Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is a skin condition caused by an intolerance to gluten
and is considered as the skin ‘symptom’ of coeliac disease
. Dermatitis Herpetiformis affects less people than coeliac disease at around 1 in 10,000. Diagnosis of Dermatitis Herpetiformis is most commonly between 15 and 40 years of age but the condition is rare in children.
What are the symptoms of Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
Symptoms of Dermatitis Herpetiformis include an itchy skin rash made up of raised red patches which may well blister. The rash tends to occur on elbows, knees and buttocks and usually occurs on both sides of the body.
How do I get diagnosed with Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
Diagnosis is usually by a skin biopsy, taken from an area with no rash. The skin sample will then be checked for antibodies. People with a positive skin biopsy result are then usually referred to a gastroenterologist for a gut biopsy (the same test used to diagnose coeliac disease). During this time, it is important to continue to include gluten containing foods in your diet to ensure an accurate result. Despite the symptoms of Dermatitis Herpetiformis being different to those of coeliac disease, the same kind of gut damage is evident from this condition.
How is Dermatitis Herpetiformis treated?
|The treatment for dermatitis herpetiformis is to follow a gluten free diet.
The treatment for Dermatitis Herpetiformis is to follow a gluten free diet. The time it takes for symptoms to improve vary from person to person but skin symptoms tend to take longer to improve than the usual gut symptoms of coeliac disease.
Using the drug Dapsone can also help to control the rash from Dermatitis Herpetiformis in the early stages although unfortunately there are side effects which is why a gluten free diet is the most effective way of controlling the condition.
Are there any health risks associated with Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
The same health risks apply to Dermatitis Herpetiformis as coeliac disease, such as osteoporisis and other autoimmune diseases, however, the risks are greatly reduced if you follow a gluten free diet.
What is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition brought on by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye*.
Is coeliac disease genetic?
There is a genetic element to coeliac disease which makes certain individuals more susceptible to the condition than others.
What are the symptoms of coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease has a wide range of symptoms but if you are at all affected by tiredness, anaemia, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, weight loss, vomiting and mouth ulcers then this may be an indication that you have coeliac disease.
How do I get diagnosed with coeliac disease?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of coeliac disease, it is important that you make an appointment to see your doctor to confirm diagnosis.
How is coeliac disease managed?
Coeliac disease is a life long condition, treated by excluding gluten from your diet. With this treatment, you should feel better in a short space of time and remain so for the rest of your life.
Codex wheat starch
A number of gluten free foods contain Codex wheat starch, which has had the gluten washed out to a trace level so is considered safe for people with coeliac disease
Support for those living with coeliac disease
For those people who have been diagnosed and don’t have a friend or family member suffering coeliac disease it can be quite scary.
Coeliac disease and osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a thinning of bones which makes them more fragile and prone to breaking following a small fall or bump.
Coeliac disease and diabetes
There is a proven link between type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease, with people with type 1 diabetes being more likely to develop a sensitivity to gluten.
Coeliac disease and pregnancy
Pregnancy is an important time during which women with coeliac disease should be regularly followed up.