Diets for medical conditions

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Below are some of the main medical conditions in which diet is an important factor.

  • Allergies

    — The commonest allergic diseases include Eczema, hay fever, asthma, urticaria (hives or nettlerash). The most commons allergens (substances which cause an allergic reaction) are the house dust mite, pollen, animal fur, moulds, milk, fish, eggs and wheat. Food preservatives (benzoate) and food colour (tartrazine) can also cause allergic reactions.
  • Crohn's disease and colitis

    — There is evidence that diet can be an important factor in the onset and treatment of colitis and Crohn's disease (which are diseases of the bowel). However the general advice is to eat a wide range of healthy foods. About 10 per cent of people with colitis find milk makes there condition worse.
  • Coeliac condition

    — People who have coeliac condition (pronounced see-lee-ak) cannot eat wheat and the products which are made from it. Coeliacs react to the protein in wheat and are unable to absorb food in their stomach.
  • Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

    — In cystic fibrosis a diet high in calories and protein is important. This is because children and young people with CF do not produce enough pancreatic enzymes to digest properly and nutrients are lost from the body. Pancreatic enzyme supplements are often given by the doctor. The amount of extra food needed varies but it should be enough to maintain good nutrition.
  • Diabetes

    — People who suffer from diabetes have a high level of glucose in their body. Insulin, a natural hormone in the body, helps the glucose to enter the cells where it is used as a fuel by the body. There are two types of diabetes and in both the body is not able to make enough insulin or to use it properly. The main changes in diet that diabetics need to make are to eat regular meals and to eat equal amounts of starchy food every day; to eat more high fibre foods; cut down on fried and fatty foods like butter, margarine, fatty meats etc, try to get the weight that is right for you and stay there and be careful not to use too much salt.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

    — This is a common digestive disorder which can cause problems such as cramping, discomfort, a feeling of fullness or being bloated and a change in bowel habit (which can range from constipation to diarrhoea). IBS commonly starts in people aged 15 to 40 and can be triggered by too much or too little dietary fibre, too much fat or a very rich or spicy diet. Alcohol, coffee, tea and smoking can all trigger the symptoms of IBS.
  • Migraine

    — This is a severe headache which comes at intervals and has no other symptoms between attacks. A migraine attack can last several hours or much longer according to the person concerned. People with migraine can sometimes recognise 'triggers' which can start an attack. These include emotional and physical stress, bright lights, loud noise menstruation, contraceptive pill and pregnancy. Insufficient food, irregular meals and prolonged lack of food can also have an affect. Some people find certain foods also trigger migraine.

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