Is there a connection between celiac disease and diabetes?
There is a connection between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes but not between celiac disease and type 2 diabetes. The reason is because like celiac disease, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder.
To clarify, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body's immune system to attack and destroy the cells in the pancreas that release insulin so that no insulin is produced at all. Type 2 diabetes is when insulin resistance sets in due to the body's inability to respond to insulin. Insulin resistance develops for many reasons, including obesity and having high blood sugar for a long time.
We're seeing that people with autoimmune disorders are more likely to have a second autoimmune condition, and this is the case with celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), about 3 percent to 8 percent of people with type 1 diabetes will have biopsy-confirmed celiac disease.
It is critically important that patients with either condition work with their doctor to screen for symptoms of the other disease. Check out this article to learn more about recognizing the symptoms and dietary treatment of these two conditions.
Rachel Begun, MS, RD, registered dietitian