Type 1 diabetes
- Coeliac disease is more common in people who have Type 1 diabetes
- For most people, Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed before coeliac disease
- In Type 1 diabetes your body doesn’t produce a hormone called insulin. This means the sugar levels in your blood become too high
- If you have coeliac disease and Type 1 diabetes, you should get guidance from a dietitian about how to manage your diet.
Coeliac disease is more common in people who have Type 1 diabetes because they are both autoimmune diseases. Between 4 and 9% of people with Type 1 diabetes will also have coeliac disease.
There is no increased risk of coeliac disease in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Click here to download our factsheet on coeliac disease and Type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
Most people with coeliac disease won’t develop Type 1 diabetes, and usually Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed before coeliac disease. It’s useful to be aware of the symptoms so that you can visit your GP if you start to experience new symptoms such as:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Needing to wee more than usual, especially at night
- Losing weight without trying to
- Blurred vision
- Cuts and grazes that are not healing
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Thrush that keeps coming back
Testing for coeliac disease in people with Type 1 diabetes
For most people, Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed before coeliac disease, but it can happen the other way around. Coeliac disease may be missed in people with Type 1 diabetes as the symptoms of ill health can be attributed to the diabetes.
Some people with Type 1 diabetes have mild or no obvious symptoms of coeliac disease, but their gut lining will still be damaged when they eat gluten.
People with Type 1 diabetes should be tested for coeliac disease at diagnosis and tested again if any symptoms of coeliac disease continue, or if new symptoms of coeliac disease develop. Read more about symptoms of coeliac disease on our website.
How coeliac disease affects people with Type 1 diabetes
If you have coeliac disease and Type 1 diabetes, you should get guidance from a dietitian about how to manage your diet. Following a gluten free diet is important to improve symptoms and reduce the risk of long term complications.
If you have Type 1 diabetes and are diagnosed with coeliac disease, your blood glucose may change after you start the gluten free diet. This can happen because taking gluten out of your diet allows the lining of your gut to heal so absorption of nutrients, including carbohydrates, will improve.
You may need to keep a closer eye on your blood glucose levels and talk to your diabetes team about your insulin requirements.