Celiac Disease Myths

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It affects about one in 133 Americans. But there's a lot of misinformation about the condition. We set the record straight. (KFSN)

Celiac disease means you have an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat. It affects about one in 133 Americans but there's a lot of misinformation about the condition.

At least three million Americans are living with celiac disease but there are a lot of myths about this condition.

The first, gluten sensitivity is the same as celiac disease -- false. If you have a sensitivity to gluten, you may be able to tolerate small amounts of it. Celiac is a genetic, autoimmune disease that causes damage to parts of the small intestine when you eat gluten.

People with this disease can't have any gluten.

Another myth, celiac disease isn't serious. In fact, if it's untreated, celiac can lead to thyroid problems, neurological disorders, osteoporosis, cancer, and more.

Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, Director of Research at the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center says, "Another surprising association is infertility in women."

Myth number three, you can outgrow celiac disease. Unfortunately, you'll have it for life. Another fallacy, a gluten-free diet cures celiac disease. There is no cure, but avoiding gluten can prevent symptoms and complications.

"Going on a gluten-free diet is important and that even if you don't have symptoms when you eat gluten, gluten can actually do a lot of harm," Dr. Jabri shared.

And one last myth, you'll have to eliminate all grains if you have celiac disease. Some like quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat don't contain gluten and are okay.

Doctors believe about 83 percent of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
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