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Celiac disease is a digestive disorder characterized by an autoimmune response to gluten, a protein found in rye, barley, wheat, triticale, and many other cereal grains. Celiac disease, if left untreated, can cause a variety of health issues ranging from infertility and miscarriage to anemia and coronary heart disease.

Here are 12 myths about celiac disease that you should be aware of:

1. Celiac disease only affects people of European origin

Celiac disease affects all ethnic groups and is common in Europe and North America, as well as in South Asia, Middle East, North Africa, and South America.

2. It is a gluten allergy

Celiac disease is not a food allergy or an intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease. In celiac disease, the consumption of gluten causes the damage of he small intestine and other parts of the body may be affected. A food allergy is characterized by a reaction that occurs very clearly, defined and typified, while intolerance, the process of rejection of a food, occurs more slowly and discreetly.

3. If you have diarrhea or other intestinal symptoms, you are celiac

Celiac disease is known as a “multi-system” disorder whose symptoms can affect any area of the body. The symptoms differ among individuals in terms of type and severity. Although diarrhea is one of the most frequent, it may not occur at all, so if you begin to feel symptoms related to the disease, you should consult it as soon as possible with a specialist.

4. People with celiac disease are not as sensitive to gluten as they say

The celiacs may have different symptoms, but there are no degrees of celiac disease, we are or we are not celiacs. People with celiac disease can get sick just by sharing utensils or having food made on the same surface as foods with gluten, and others without noticing it, but they are also damaging the intestine.

5. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are the same

It is often thought that these two terms are the same thing, but they are not. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten causing small intestine damage. Gluten sensitivity is not an autoimmune disease, and gluten does not cause long-term damage to the intestines. However some of the symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, bloating are shared.

6. Only children get celiac disease

Celiac disease can appear and be diagnosed at any age. It can be developed at the time of introducing cereals in the child’s diet, in old age or at any other time. Precisely, celiac disease is diagnosed more frequently in people between 40-60 years of age. Late diagnosis is common and symptoms can appear in both children and adults, so if some symptoms begin to arise, it is advisable to go to the specialist to, if they consider it appropriate, undergo the tests to confirm or deny the disease, without take into account the age of the patient.

7. A gluten-free diet affects the development of children

Gluten is not an essential protein for our health, it can be substituted by other animal or vegetable proteins. For this reason, if a balanced and healthy diet is followed, a celiac child will grow in a totally normal way.

8. Only people with low weight and low body mass are celiacs

Although weight loss may be one of the symptoms of this disease, it does not mean that people who are at their ideal weight or suffer from obesity cannot be celiac. Anyone, regardless of their weight, can develop celiac disease.

9. Only cereal-based foods contain gluten

Eating gluten-free does not only mean that you have to make the change to gluten-free breads, pastas and cereals. You can also find gluten in some products as sunscreen, shampoo and makeup. Also, gluten can be found in foods such as sweets, pickles, soy sauce and other condiments.

10. Eating gluten-free is good for losing weight

It is not correct to think that eating gluten-free you will lose weight. Many specific products without gluten contain more sugar, fat, and other additives than their version with gluten.

11. Celiac disease is hereditary

The celiacs have a genetic predisposition to suffer from this disease, however they do not have to develop it. The truth is that it has a genetic and environmental factor so it would be incorrect to say that its origin is only genetic.

12. Celiacs can not eat outside the home

Currently, many restaurants offer gluten-free menus or dishes, so celiac can afford to eat out if they know where to do it.

If you want to find out how common celiac disease is, check out our article on this topic: How common is the celiac disease?

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