By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

Last month we discussed the links between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes and unfortunately there are many people who must deal with both of these life-long autoimmune disorders. Researchers are finding rising rates of celiac disease in patients already coping with type 1 diabetes.

As a result of these rising figures, a research team from the Children’s Medical Center of Israel tried to assess what effect, if any, celiac disease has on growth and glycemic controls in patients with type 1 and the effects of sticking to a strict gluten-free diet on these parameters.

The researchers conducted a longitudinal retrospective case-control study using medical records of 68 patients with type 1 and biopsy confirmed celiac disease. They looked at weight, height, hemoglobin A1c, the frequency of diabetic ketoacidosis and severe hypoglycemic events both before and after diagnosis and changing to a strict gluten-free diet. The results from these findings were then compared with 131 patients with type 1 but without celiac disease.

Did results show differences between the study group and the control group in terms of glycemic control or more frequent hypoglycemia or DKA events? Interestingly, no. The data showed no significant differences between the groups.

BMI, heights and hemoglobin A1c values were only very slightly higher in the control group in comparison to the study group and similar in patients with celiac disease with a good or fair/poor adherence to a strict gluten-free diet throughout the study.

The researchers concluded that patients with both type 1 and celiac disease and who are following a gluten-free diet had similar growth and glycemic control to those patients without celiac disease.