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Where There’s One Autoimmune Disorder, There May Be Another

Jun 7, 2016

Male, 32 years of age, type 1 diabetes, was following gluten free diet of his own choice. Was never diagnosed, just “feels better” when he doesn’t eat gluten. Has lab tests that were negative for celiac in the past.

Came to see me for follow up diabetes education. Noted weight loss of 5 pounds in one week. Glucose levels were not elevated, in fact for the most part in target range. Upon further questioning to reasons for weight loss, reported having had diarrhea the past few days. Did not report change in diet other than having eaten regular bread the day the diarrhea started.


Had several patients in the past week telling me they recently had  gastroenteritis. I contacted our gastroenterologist who saw him the next day. He highly suspected celiac and started lab testing for that and other reasons for cause of diarrhea. Gastroenterologist informed us that once all lab tests were received, will obtain biopsy to diagnose or rule out celiac.

Lessons Learned:

  • When working with people who have autoimmune disorders, always keep in mind other seemingly unassociated symptoms of the disorder you are working with may be another autoimmune disorder.
  • Refer to the specialist most associated with the presenting symptoms.
  • Many times we overlook autoimmune disorders for those who have diabetes.


Triolo,Taylor M., et al. “Additional autoimmune disease found in 33% of patients at type 1 diabetes onset.” Diabetes care 34.5 (2011): 1211-1213.


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