Many people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes develop additional medical complications as a result of their condition. One such condition is celiac disease, which affects approximately 1 in every 250 Type 2 diabetics, with odds being increased when there is a family history of the disease. Even though it may not be considered a highly dangerous disease, for those who have it there is still a reason to be concerned.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body mistakenly identifies something as “foreign matter” and therefore treats it in an abnormal fashion. This disorder attacks the small intestine, causing the tiny finger like villi that line the inner wall of the small intestine to shrink and flatten. You must have a genetic predisposition to celiac disease and it starts when a person becomes intolerant to gluten.
Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease is associated with digestive problems closely resembling irritable bowel syndrome. Digestive symptoms include:
- recurrent abdominal bloating,
- mouth sores,
- skin rash,
- joint pain,
- diarrhea or constipation.
Gluten, is a type of protein that is commonly found in most grains from wheat, and rye, to oats and barley. When a person with celiac disease eats something containing gluten, their digestive system mounts an immune reaction, which in turn damages the lining of the small intestines. Instead of the lining of the small intestine absorbing food as it is intended, the damaged lining is not able to do so. The inability to absorb food quickly leads to malnutrition.
Celiac disease is dangerous for diabetics since it dramatically affects their blood sugar levels. The disease can cause erratic swings in blood sugar which are typically unpredictable. While this is difficult for a non-diabetic to deal with, it can be especially troubling for a diabetes, with episodes of both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia occurring. Typically, unless celiac has been previously diagnosed, these episodes won’t be directly connected to celiac disease.
The presence of the disease can often go unnoticed for years. Since symptoms resemble other conditions, it is often misdiagnosed. If the individual does not have a tendency to experience gastrointestinal problems then it makes diagnosis even more unlikely.
The treatment for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is to adapt a gluten-free diet. But this can be very difficult, especially for a diabetic who is already closely monitoring their food choices. Now that celiac has been introduced, there are even more foods that are off-limits.
Even though certain foods are supposed to be avoided by people with Type 2 diabetes, they are often eaten anyway. But with celiac disease, there is a whole new reason to avoid them.
The important thing is to have your doctor verify if in fact you do have gluten sensitivity. This is accomplished with a simple blood test. Knowing this will help you to plan meals around it and eliminate any unnecessary complications that come with consuming gluten. With a gluten-free diet antibody levels come down, fewer antibodies will mean less inflammation and less pain and misery.