OBJECTIVE The implications of celiac disease (CD) in adult patients with type 1 diabetes are unknown, with respect to diabetes-related outcomes including glycemic control, lipids, microvascular complications, quality of life, and the effect of a gluten-free diet (GFD). We identified CD in adults with type 1 diabetes and investigated the effect of a GFD on diabetes-related complications.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS This was a case-control study conducted at a U.K. teaching hospital. Patients with type 1 diabetes aged >16 years (n = 1,000) were assessed for CD. HbA1c, lipid profile, quality of life, retinopathy stage, nephropathy stage, and degree of neuropathy before and after 1 year on a GFD were assessed.
RESULTS The prevalence of CD was 33 per 1,000 subjects (3.3% [95% CI 2.3–4.6]). At diagnosis of CD, adult type 1 diabetic patients had worse glycemic control (8.2 vs. 7.5%, P = 0.05), lower total cholesterol (4.1 vs. 4.9, P = 0.014), lower HDL cholesterol (1.1 vs. 1.6, P = 0.017), and a higher prevalence of retinopathy (58.3 vs. 25%, P = 0.02), nephropathy (41.6 vs. 4.2%, P = 0.009), and peripheral neuropathy (41.6 vs. 16.6%, P = 0.11). There was no difference in quality of life (P > 0.1). After 1 year on a GFD, only the lipid profile improved overall, but in adherent individuals HbA1c and markers for nephropathy improved.
CONCLUSIONS Adults with undetected CD and type 1 diabetes have worse glycemic control and a higher prevalence of retinopathy and nephropathy. Treatment with a GFD for 1 year is safe in adults with type 1 diabetes and does not have a negative impact on the quality of life.
- Received January 23, 2011.
- Accepted July 1, 2011.
- © 2011 by the American Diabetes Association.
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