Celiac.com 09/19/2012 - Researchers have documented rising rates of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D). A research team recently tried to assess the effect of celiac disease on growth and glycemic control in patients with T1D, and to determine the effects of a gluten-free diet on these parameters.

Photo: CC--Jill A. BrownThe research team included I. Taler, M. Phillip, Y. Lebenthal, L. de Vries, R. Shamir, and S. Shalitin. They are affiliated with the Department of Pediatrics B, Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel in Petach Tikva, Israel.

To do so, they conducted a longitudinal retrospective case-control study, in which they reviewed the medical data on 68 patients with T1D and duodenal-biopsy-confirmed celiac disease. They looked at weight, height, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), frequency of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), and severe hypoglycemic events before and after diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease.

They then compared their findings with 131 patients with T1D alone, who were all matched for age, gender, and duration of diabetes.

In all, 5.5% patients with T1D who attended the center during the study period were diagnosed with celiac disease, while 26% of the patients with celiac disease were symptomatic.

The data showed no significant differences in glycemic control or frequency of severe hypoglycemia or DKA events between the study group and control subjects.

Body mass index-standard deviation score (SDS), height-SDS, and HbA1c values were insignificantly higher in the control group than in the study group, and similar in celiac disease patients with good or fair/poor adherence to a gluten-free diet during follow-up.

Patients with T1D and celiac disease and following a gluten-free diet have growth and metabolic control similar to those with T1D with no celiac disease.

To determine whether a gluten-free diet is appropriate for asymptomatic celiac patients or only symptomatic patients must be assessed against possible short- and long-term consequences of no intervention, and the decision should be based on more evidence from larger randomized studies.

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