Celiac disease and diabetes link confirmed by Italian study
There has long been a correlation between celiac disease (CD) and type 1 diabetes.
A study recently published in the journal Endocrine further confirms that link--specifically in a Sicilian population of Italy.
The research, conducted by a team from the Division of Diabetology at Paolo Borsellino Hospital in Marsala, Italy, aimed to determine just how prevalent celiac disease was among diabetics in a particular part of western Sicily.
Details of the study
Analyzing 492 patients who had type 1 diabetes, the researchers found that 4.5 percent of participants had a previous diagnosis of celiac disease. In Italy's general population, about one in 1,000 people is diagnosed with celiac disease.
All of the patients in the study with celiac disease had received the CD diagnosis either at the same time or after the diabetes diagnosis. The average age for a diabetes diagnosis was 13 years old.
The study also showed that, while the CD and type 1 diabetes link is common, it was lower in this Sicilian population than it has been in studies on other Italian populations. The main takeaway was that females who developed type 1 diabetes at an early age had a much higher chance of developing CD shortly thereafter.
What is celiac disease?
As an autoimmune disorder, celiac disease prevents the proper absorption of food in the small intestine, causing extreme nutritional deficiencies and intestinal problems. It's triggered by the presence of gluten, which is found in common foods that include wheat, rye and barley.
Celiac disease, like diabetes, seems to be more common in people of Northern European descent.
Sources: Celiac.com, Food Consumer