Associated Autoimmune Conditions – Introduction
If you have one autoimmune condition, such as coeliac disease, you are more likely to develop another. For this reason, approximately 5 – 10% of people with diabetes also have coeliac disease.
Even though it can happen the other way around, most people are first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. In addition to those suffering with Type 1 diabetes, those with coeliac disease should also be tested for this disease since it is easy to miss or misdiagnose coeliac disease.
To control both conditions, gluten-free diets are essential. In addition, as a result of changes in how you absorb carbohydrates, if you are diagnosed with coeliac disease after diabetes, you may need to monitor your blood glucose levels closely. Speak with your GP or practice nurse if you have concerns about your insulin requirements.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes and Coeliac Disease Together
You will happily be able to control your appetite and blood glucose levels if you eat regular meals. Each meal should contain gluten-free, starchy carbohydrates.
2 Eat well- reducing saturated fat, salt, and sugar helps maintain a healthy weight, prevent high blood pressure, and better control blood glucose levels.
3 Avoid diabetes food – specialist foods are essential for individuals with coeliac disease. In the case of diabetes, however, that isn’t the case. Diabetes food and drinks are sometimes expensive, contain the same amount of fat and calories as ordinary versions, and still affect your blood glucose level.
Thyroiditis caused by an autoimmune condition
Coeliac disease is also associated with it. About 2% to 4% of people with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) have coeliac disease. However, a lot more in-depth research is needed to understand the link between these conditions.
This condition is when the bones become thin and more likely to break. People with coeliac disease tend to have a lower bone mineral density (BMD) when they are diagnosed because of malabsorption.
When your bone density is lower than a normal person’s, you will be diagnosed with osteoporosis using a DEXA scan. However, it is not low enough to cause osteoporosis. You could be diagnosed with osteopenia. Treatment depends on your circumstances, but everyone with coeliac disease should consume at least 1000mg of calcium per day.
Lactose intolerance is probably more well known than coeliac disease. This is because lactose, a sugar found in milk, is hard to digest for those with this intolerance.
You might, at this stage, be puzzled as to why any or all of this has to do with coeliac disease. Again, gut lining holds the key. Coeliac disease causes damage to the gut, preventing the body from adequately digesting lactose and causing uncomfortable gut symptoms.
A dietitian is the person that will provide you with specific advice and monitoring about reducing lactose in your diet. Most people with lactose intolerance due to coeliac disease will recover from it once their guts have healed.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is commonly misdiagnosed as coeliac disease. However, it is possible to have both coeliac disease and IBS. If you are still experiencing symptoms post-diagnosis, speak to your GP as further support from them and a dietitian may be very beneficial.
Osteoporosis is more likely to develop if:
- The diagnosis of coeliac disease took a long time, or you were diagnosed later in life. You frequently fail to follow your gluten-free diet.
- Besides lactose intolerance, you also suffer from gout.
- It is apparent that you are underweight.
- Smoking is your vice.
The simplest and best thing to do at this point is to speak to your medical practice if any of this sounds familiar to you.
DH (Dermatitis Herpetiformis)
Coeliac disease manifests as DH in approximately 1 in 3,300 people. Although it could occur at any stage of your life, people aged 50 to 70 are more likely to experience it. An itchy, stinging rash usually has red, raised patches with blisters that burst when scratched. The condition can affect anywhere, but it is most common on elbows, knees, and buttocks.
Even though 60% of people with DH have no gut symptoms, their guts still suffer damage, so following your strict gluten-free diet is essential.
DH is treated with a lifelong gluten-free diet, though the time it takes for the rash to heal can vary a lot – as long as two years in some cases. As a result, Dapsone, a medication usually prescribed for itching and blisters, is administered until the issue has been resolved.
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