Research now confirms that there is a link between diabetes and Celiac Disease. Specifically, Type 1 diabetes is linked with Celiac Disease as having genetic similarities. Previously, it was known that the rate of occurrence for somebody to have Celiac Disease if they already had diabetes was quite high. The number was estimated to be at about 1 of every 20 people with diabetes would also have Celiac Disease. This was compared to 1 out of 250 people otherwise.
It was a goal for some time to determine the link between these two diseases. Now it is confirmed that there is a common susceptibility gene. The gene is HLA-DQB1, and it is the primary susceptibility gene for diabetes and a major one for Celiac Disease.
Both Type 1 diabetes and Celiac Disease are examples of an autoimmune disease, which means that your body mistakenly ends up attacking itself.
In the case of Type 1 diabetes, your body attacks certain cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. In the case of Celiac Disease, your body attacks the lining of your small intestine after coming into contact with gluten.
Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat and other grains. That means that much of the food that we eat, particularly processed foods and restaurant foods, can be quite damaging to someone with Celiac Disease. Great care has to be taken to either carefully select your own ingredients or to carefully read all of the included ingredients in any particular food item. Even some medicines, vitamins, flavorings and beverages may contain gluten, so it’s important to take a good look at everything before ingesting it.
The good news is that more and more food items and products are being produced as 100% gluten free, so be sure to look for the appropriate labels and peruse the aisles of health food stores and so on.
Unlike with lactose intolerance, where many people can still indulge in their favorite foods in smaller or less frequent quantities, Celiac Disease actually causes damage to the small intestines which can be quite severe.
Not everyone with Celiac Disease has severe symptoms, but the problems can become quite intense for those who do, especially because it can go undetected for a long time. The wide range of symptoms, from headaches to stomach pain to depression and a myriad of others make it difficult to diagnose.
Type 1 diabetes, also widely known as juvenile or childhood onset diabetes, requires daily multiple injections of insulin to keep a person functioning and alive. There is no cure besides constant treatment. Someone with diabetes must also be quite wary of their diets due to their specific sugar and other dietary needs. Therefore, the person already suffering from Type 1 diabetes should be well prepared to handle the challenges of even severe Celiac Disease.
Now that the common link between these two diseases has been uncovered there will surely be more effective research into treating one or both of these disorders.