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From Springfield, Virginia, USA:

My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago. At that time, we were told that she probably developed diabetes from a "virus". Recently, she was diagnosed with celiac. So, I am wondering, do you think she always had the celiac, since it is a genetic disease? And, could we have prevented the diabetes if we had known about the celiac earlier in life?

I have seen the statistics on children with diabetes and celiac, just wondering if there is a "which came first..." question here.


Both type 1 diabetes mellitus and celiac disease are genetically predisposed. Then something, such as a common virus, is likely "needed" to set up the disease itself. The common gene is related to autoimmune problems such as thyroiditis as well as celiac and type 1 diabetes. Adrenal insufficiency and pernicious anemia are also commonly linked to this same HLA gene and others in the family should be screened for these same illnesses. Early diagnosis means that you can, hopefully, prevent serious symptoms but not likely can one prevent the illness itself. Research is trying to figure this out. There are some studies that suggest that decreasing gluten exposure in one who is known to be susceptible may delay onset of diabetes, but this is not definitive.


Original posting 20 Sep 2004
Posted to Research: Causes and Prevention and Celiac


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