Quality of life in children with diabetes and celiac disease: minimal impact of the ‘double diagnosis’

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Abstract

Background:

Despite the advent of sensitive testing to detect celiac disease (CD), screening in type 1 diabetes (T1D) remains controversial. Many diabetes clinics are apprehensive about the prospect of introducing a second illness requiring intensive lifestyle changes in patients and families already managing a chronic condition, especially in asymptomatic patients.

Objective:

To determine the impact of managing CD + T1D on quality of life in families, with attention to the effect of adherence with a gluten-free diet (GFD) and metabolic control.

Patients and Methods:

Cross-sectional assessment using a validated self-reported quality of life measure: 28 children with biopsy-proven CD + T1D were compared with 40 subjects with T1D aged 8–18 yr. Parental and child reports were assessed as well as symptoms at the time of CD diagnosis and adherence with a GFD at the quality of life assessment.

Results:

No significant differences in quality of life were observed between subjects with established CD + T1D and subjects with T1D alone. Parents of children with CD + T1D reported lower social functioning scores than parents of children with T1D (p = 0.03). In the CD + T1D group no differences in quality of life were observed with regard to age at CD diagnosis, CD duration, or on the basis of adherence with a GFD.

Conclusions:

The additional diagnosis of CD has minimal impact on quality of life in children with T1D; however, parents of CD + T1D children did express greater concern about their child's social functioning.

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