What is the Connection Between Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease?

“The prevalence of celiac disease is increased in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus,” according to Turkish researchers. “Since many patients may be asymptomatic, it is suggested that all diabetic patients should be screened for this disease.”

In an effort to determine the prevalence of celiac disease in type 1s, anti-endomysium immunoglobulin antibody (IgA) was tested in 100 adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus and in 80 age- and sex-matched controls with no known disease. In participants who tested positive for anti-endomysium IgA, distal duodenal biopsy, human leukocyte antigen typing, urinary D-xylose (a kind of sugar) excretion test, stool analysis, biochemistry profile, blood counts, serum ferritin level and small-intestinal radiography were performed.

“Small-bowel biopsy specimens consistent with celiac disease were defined as manifest celiac disease, while positive anti-endomysium IgA and normal intestinal histology with the presence of human leukocyte antigen class 2 antigens consistent with the disease were defined as latent celiac disease,” write the researchers.

Anti-endomysium IgA was positive in eight diabetic patients and was negative in all controls. Celiac disease was found in a total of six patients—four with manifest and two with latent disease. Only one patient had symptoms.

Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology, June 2002

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