Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

Diabetes and Coeliac Disease

What is Coeliac Disease?
Symptoms of Coeliac Disease
Diabetes and Coeliac Disease
Treatment – Diets For People With Coeliac and Diabetes
The Experiences of a Family With Diabetes and Coeliac Disease
Information Sources


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What is Coeliac Disease?

  • It is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged by gluten. Gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat, barley and possible oats.
  • This damage prevents foods from being absorbed properly by the small intestine and so before diagnosis there is weight loss and possibly malnutrition.
  • Treatment is a gluten free diet.
  • It is prevalent in the UK although estimates of incidence vary from 1 in 1000 to 1 in 300 people.
  • It can be diagnosed at any age but mostly it is finally diagnosed in adulthood usually in the 30-45 age group.
  • Many other cases may remain undiagnosed or may be falsely diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome and only a third of cases are ever diagnosed as coeliac disease and treated with a gluten free diet.
  • Certain groups are at greater risk of developing coeliac disease – people with Type 1 diabetes, Downs syndrome, thyroid disease and osteoporosis.

Research in Finland looked at 300 people with coeliac disease and showed that:

  • Only 24% of 300 people with coeliac disease had classic symptoms,
  • 36% had minor symptoms,
  • 27% were diagnosed with associated diseases and 13% by chance.
  • 51% had another autoimmune disease with 16% of this group having diabetes.