Celiac.com 03/01/2019 - About 30,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes are diagnosed annually in the US, typically in children. If a serious disease affected up to 10% of all type 1 diabetics, wouldn’t you agree that it’s time to sit up and take notice? Perhaps screening for this disease would also make sense.
Celiac disease affects 1% of the population, making it a common disease. In the celiac population there is an increased prevalence of type 1 diabetes and this association is well established. Despite celiac disease affecting a much greater percentage of the general population than type 1 diabetes, 90% of the patients suffering from both conditions are first diagnosed with diabetes. Study results vary, but the prevalence of celiac disease among children with diabetes ranges between 4.5% (over 25 studies), to 10% and 12.3% respectively. Opinions on whether screening of all diabetic patients should become part of the medical model are controversial, but fortunately, we are seeing increased support [5,6,9].
I would recommend to any parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, as well as any adult with the disease, that they get tested for both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity as soon as possible. In my clinical experience we have seen excellent changes when a gluten-free diet was implemented. The facts are these: when celiac disease is diagnosed in diabetics it often occurs within a couple of years of the diabetes diagnosis, but after 5 years the cumulative numbers revealed an estimated 10% incidence of celiac. This is just too common to ignore and the ill effects it creates in these individuals can be dramatic.
While it may seem overwhelming to consider, in the long run it could mean the difference between a stable health condition and life-long health challenges.
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance. I am here to help.
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- Hansen D, et al. “Clinical benefit of a gluten-free diet in Type 1 diabetic children with screening-detected celiac disease” Diabetes Care 29(11), 2452–2456 (2006).
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- Narula P, et al. “Gastrointestinal symptoms in children with Type 1 diabetes screened for celiac disease”. Pediatrics 124(3), E489–E495 (2009).
- Sanchez-Albisua. “Celiac disease in children with Type 1 diabetes mellitus: the effect of the gluten-free diet. Diabetic Medicine 22(8), 1079–1082 (2005).
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- Frohlich-Reiterer EE, et al. “Screening frequency for celiac disease and autoimmune thyroiditis in children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes mellitus” Pediatric Diabetes 9(6), 546–553 (2008).