Background and Aim: There is scanty data on the occurrence of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus in South Asia. Our aim was to study the prevalence and clinical profile of celiac disease in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus in a tertiary care referral centre in north India.
Methods: Consecutive patients of type 1 diabetes mellitus attending the Endocrine clinic of our institute between January 2002 and December 2008 were screened using anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGAb), and those positive were subjected to duodenal biopsy. Clinical profile of these patients was recorded.
Results: Out of 189 patients of type 1 diabetes mellitus, 21 (11.1%) were diagnosed to have celiac disease on the basis of positive serology (tTGAb) and duodenal histology. The mean age at diagnosis of diabetes was 10.81 ± 7.3 years and that of celiac disease was 13.74 ± 5.71 years, with a difference of 5.18 ± 4.75 years between the two. Only 2/21 patients with celiac disease had been diagnosed before detection of diabetes mellitus. Short stature was the commonest (52.3%) manifestation of celiac disease, followed by anemia (47.3), weight loss (42.8%), diarrhea (28.6%) and abdominal pain (14.2%). After initiating gluten free diet, 14/16 symptomatic patients had reversal of anemia, weight loss and diarrhea. Growth rate velocity improved from 2.3 ± 1.0 cm/year to 5.5 ± 2.4 cm/year in those with short stature.
Conclusion: Celiac disease is highly prevalent in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (11.1%) and majority of them (90.5%) were diagnosed on screening. Routine screening is required for early diagnosis and combat associated co-morbidities.