By Van Waffle
A study from Northern Italy has confirmed that celiac disease may be associated with autoimmune hypothyroidism and type 1 diabetes. People with celiac disease are 4.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism. They also face a marginal 2.5 times increased risk for type 1 diabetes.
The study, supported by the University of Padua, collected data on 1,215 child and young adult patients with celiac disease born between 1989 and 2011, and compared them with the general population. While previous studies have found type 1 diabetes patients have an increased risk for celiac disease, few like this one have shown the reverse is also true. Other studies have also associated celiac disease with hypothyroidism. However, this latest research provides stronger evidence because it identified all celiac disease patients from a region during a given time period.
The reason for the association remains uncertain, but experts suspect a shared genetic background. Almost all people with celiac disease have the human leukocyte antigen-DQ2 or -DQ8 gene, which occur at more than the usual frequency in people with autoimmune hypothyroidism or type 1 diabetes.
Canova C, Pitter G, Ludvigsson JF, Romor P, Zanier L, Zanotti R and Simonato L, “Celiac disease and risk of autoimmune disorders: a population-based matched birth cohort study,” The Journal of Pediatrics, July 2016, doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.02.058.