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Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Threat for Every Child with Diabetes

“Doctor, could my child’s type 1 diabetes cause other illnesses as well?”

We may dread the answer, but the question has to be asked when a doctor declares that a child has type 1 diabetes. The latter is an inherited disorder of the immune system, and therefore other body systems can also get affected. The digestive system is often affected in tandem with type 1 diabetes. The illness is called celiac disease. It may not have symptoms at first, especially if you child has been breast fed for a relatively long time. However, your doctor can order blood tests to find out conclusively whether or not a child with type 1 diabetes also has celiac disease. A biopsy of the small intestines can also be used to confirm the existence of celiac disease.

Celiac disease is treated by complete elimination of gluten from diet. Wheat is the principal source of this substance, though traces are also used in processed foods and in some medicines. A nutrition expert can draw up a diet that is entirely free from gluten. Celiac disease, if left unmanaged, will affect the physical and mental development of a child with type 1 diabetes. There may be other symptoms of malnutrition and digestive disorders as well. Only a doctor can determine whether or not a child with type 1 diabetes has celiac disease as well.

Ask your doctor for the blood tests.

Remember that you should not remove wheat and other gluten containing items from you child’s diet until the blood tests have been done, for you could get a false negative result.

You can leave a post here or send me an email if you want details of the blood tests for celiac disease, and of how to eliminate gluten from diet.


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