According to Coeliac UK, Coeliac Disease is more common in people with Type 1 Diabetes. Between 2% and 10% of those with Coeliac DIsease also have Diabetes. Guest blogger Lianne Chalmers describes this as a 'Double Whammy' and has started to explore some of the additional considerations that affect her personal and family life on her recently created Facebook Group Double Whammy - Diabetes & Coeliac. More facts and helpful info can also be found at Coeliac UK's site (www.coeliac.org.uk).
On a day to day basis, having diabetes (mine is type 1 so insulin controlled) and coeliac, creates a lot of thought processes from breakfast time to going out for coffee or lunch. There is frustration and annoyance as there is a certain amount of 'convenience' that is no longer there when eating out. There is a lot of reading of labels in stores, cafés & restaurants, and when you have a 3 year old this can be a tricky task. So I tend to shop when my daughter is at pre-school.
Whether eating out or in I have to consider my GF diet as well as food that is more complex in carbohydrates, so as not to spike blood sugars too much, as this is contributory in diabetic complications. With regards to living with my daughter who does not need a gluten free diet, the main consideration is cross contamination, as I do give her normal bread, cereal & biscuits and we have to have separate pots of butter. however at dinnertime I will keep our meals the same e.g. gluten free pasta and home-made sauce. This is more convenient for myself and does not do her any harm. But I am aware I should not take gluten out of her diet completely in case she builds up an intolerance.
If I accidentally have gluten this can cause my blood sugar levels to dip as my food is not digested in the usual way and so my insulin has nothing to work on. If I am out and have a diabetic hypo, I cannot just have the first thing to hand, especially without checking the labels, so it is essential to carry sufficient supplies in my bag so as not to prolong the hypo. This is also extremely important as I have a 3 ½ year old daughter, and am obviously responsible for her too.
I feel that with the combination of diabetes type 1 and coeliac, that I need to have my eye on the ball at all times, and over time I will need to educate my daughter so she knows why this happens, and that I'm not just making a fuss!