Difficulties related to compliance with gluten-free diet by patients with coeliac disease living in Upper Silesia
Magdalena Ferster1, Anna Obuchowicz1, Beata Jarecka1, Jolanta Pietrzak1, Krystyna Karczewska2
1 Department of Paediatrics in Bytom, School of Health Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Bytom, Poland
2 Paediatric Gastroenterology Outpatient Centre, University Hospital No. 1 in Zabrze, Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Zabrze, Poland
Correspondence: Professor Anna Obuchowicz, MD, PhD, Department of Paediatrics, Batorego 15, 41-902 Bytom, tel./fax: +48 32 786 14 98, e-mail: email@example.com
Compliance with gluten-free diet is the basic method for controlling coeliac disease in patients regardless of their age. It may be, however, challenging to follow in daily life. The prevalence of the disease (approx. 1% of European population is affected) makes it an important public health problem. Aim of the study: Investigating the difficulties and obstacles related to compliance with gluten-free diet by children and adult patients living in Upper Silesia region. Material and method: The study included 30 mothers of children with coeliac disease (Group I) and 30 adult coeliac disease patients (Group II). The patients kept a gluten-free diet. Data were obtained in an anonymous survey drawn up for the purpose of this study, conducted in 2010. Results: The respondents reported a very limited access to gluten-free meals in mass-catering establishments (76.7% of the participants in Group II, and 70% children at nurseries, kindergartens and schools), lack of adequate food product labelling (93% in both groups), difficulties experienced in social life (60% in Group II), difficulties experienced when travelling within Poland (76.7% in Group II) and abroad (83.3% in Group II), and no existing reimbursement plan for the high diet costs (16.7% in Group I vs. 26.7% in Group II). Conclusions: 1) The necessity of compliance with gluten-free diet causes a lot of difficulties in everyday life to patients with coeliac disease and parents of children suffering from coeliac disease. Proper treatment requires their identification by the attending physician. 2) Improved food labelling as regards gluten content as well as inclusion of gluten-free meals in the menu of food-serving establishments will contribute to improved quality of life of children and adults suffering from coeliac disease. 3) Associations of patients on a gluten-free diet should continue their efforts to have high costs of this diet refunded.