Is celiacia relatively a new disease

Comorbidities of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease and type 1 diabetes often coexist. The prevalence of celiac disease in type 1 diabetics is between three and eight percent, depending on the age of the patient. Celiac disease is also common in first-degree relatives of a diabetic. Conversely, three to six percent of people with celiac disease have type 1 diabetes.

Genetic Similarities

The common occurrence of the two diseases seems to be caused by a common genetic predisposition, because an increased frequency of the so-called histocompatibility genes HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 can be determined in both diabetes and celiac disease. In addition, increased zonulin levels were found in both type 1 diabetics and celiac disease patients. Zonulin is a protein that regulates intestinal permeability in the area of ​​the small intestine.

Diabetes diagnosis

In most cases (around 90 percent), type 1 diabetes is diagnosed first. This is probably due to the low symptoms of celiac disease in the affected patients in childhood and adolescence. People who were not diagnosed with celiac disease in time and whose diets contained products containing gluten for a long time have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Diet recommendations

To treat both diseases, a strict gluten-free diet must be followed, but no specific diabetic diet. A normal, balanced diet is recommended for diabetics, with or without celiac disease. The gluten-free diet also has positive effects on diabetes, as the metabolism is better controlled and this may reduce the need for insulin.

Celiac disease screening in type 1 diabetics

In view of the frequent association of the two pathologies, all type 1 diabetics should undergo celiac disease screening, in which the tTg-IgA antibodies are determined:

  • at the time of diabetes diagnosis
  • once a year for three years
  • in the fifth year after the diagnosis of diabetes
  • with suspicious symptoms