Being diagnosed with a disease can be scary. But it’s even scarier not to know how to distinguish between a myth or a fact about that disease. Here we are talking about Celiac disease. Celiac disease in itself is pretty challenging to deal with and to add to that, myths about it make it even more challenging. So today, let’s check some myths about Celiac and bust them as well. Oh! Who doesn’t love a good myth-busting?! We sure do!
MYTH 1- It is the same as gluten sensitivity
FACT CHECK- This is the most famous myth about Celiac disease. Although people with Celiac disease are genetically predisposed to gluten sensitivity, gluten allergy and gluten intolerance are not the same as Celiac disease. It is easily mistaken because these conditions have almost the same symptoms seen in Celiac disease. But, if a person with celiac disease takes in gluten, it can cause serious intestinal damage, especially in the long-term. Whereas a gluten allergic or intolerant person ingests gluten, the after-effects are temporary like bloating, headaches, constipation or diarrhea.
MYTH 2- Celiac disease only affects children and it can be outgrown
FACT CHECK- Celiac disease can develop at any age and not just in children. Typical symptoms of Celiac in children are diarrhea, abdominal pain and an itchy rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. Children may also suffer from slow growth, late puberty, short stature, lack of growth, behavioural problems neurological problems. However, in adults, additional symptoms such as infertility, iron deficiency, anaemia, anxiety or depression, fatigue and bloating are usually seen.
MYTH 4- Celiac is an allergy
FACT CHECK- Celiac is an autoimmune disease disorder and never an allergy. Such a misunderstanding exists because celiac requires a foreign substance (gluten) to trigger it. To put it in simple words, every time a person with celiac disease has a meal with gluten in it, the body attacks its own small intestine, causing irreversible damages.
MYTH 5- Celiac disease is impossible to diagnose
FACT CHECK- Another baseless myth, because the Celiac disease can be diagnosed through blood tests that screen for Celiac disease antibodies. And if the disease is confirmed, your doctor might prescribe a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm it. Testing the gene that is thought to cause the disease is another option some might choose.
MYTH 6- Celiac is neither serious nor a real disease
FACT CHECK- Even though the symptoms of celiac can be confusing, Celiac is a very real and serious disease. If you’re celiac, gluten intake can actually cause severe malabsorption and without the necessary nutrients, you can suffer from significant weight loss, heart and kidney problems. If left untreated, celiac can lead to other problems like infertility, cancer, lymphoma, thyroid disease and so on.
Celiac is a very serious, life-threatening disease if proper care isn’t given. And unfortunately, it isn’t rare as well. Studies suggest that over 97% of people with Celiac don’t know they have it. But the good news is, with a gluten-free diet, medical care and support, Celiac is treatable and manageable.