Celiac disease in diabetes advice from a nutritionist

Lana Bandoim's picture

It is estimated that one out of every 20 patients who has type 1 diabetes also has celiac disease. It is common for patients to have multiple autoimmune disorders at the same time, and type 1 diabetes is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. Nutritionist Marilyn McCall recently answered questions about celiac disease and diabetes at the American Association of Diabetes Educators meeting.


The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) annual meeting provided the perfect setting for a discussion about celiac disease and diabetes. Nutritionist Marilyn McCall shared that an estimated 290,000 patients with type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease in the U.S. She pointed out that dealing with both autoimmune disorders at the same time can be difficult, and doctors often misdiagnose patients.

In her presentation, “To Eat or Not to Eat Gluten: This is Just One of the Questions,” McCall mentioned that it is estimated 85 percent of the patients who suffer from a gluten intolerance or celiac disease are not being diagnosed. For patients who already have type 1 diabetes, getting a diagnosis for celiac disease can be complicated. They may not show the classic symptoms of the disease or have symptoms that are confused with their diabetes.


Marilyn McCall pointed out that patients should not rely on blood tests as the only way to screen for celiac disease. The nutritionist mentioned that patients should also get a biopsy and consider genetic testing. She recommended working with your doctor to establish a gluten-free lifestyle after diagnosis. McCall also warned patients that they must check all of their medications for gluten and must recheck them periodically. Formula changes can occur, and medications that used to be free of gluten can be altered.

Previous studies have found that there is no standard for screening for celiac disease in type 1 diabetes patients. In most cases, a diagnosis is only reached after symptoms become severe and other disorders are ruled out. Marilyn McCall and other medical professionals would like to change this trend and establish guidelines for screening that would increase the rate of diagnosis.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years