When a child is living with insulin dependent diabetes, families may seek medical advice about physical symptoms of celiac disease without suspecting that their child has gluten intolerance.
Because recent studies have shown a higher incidence of celiac disase in those with diabetes, and families have met others with the same additional dietary restrictions at parent groups, conferences, and email discussion groups, more specialists are aware of the dual diagnosis, and other medical professionals are seeing patients who have been diagnosed with both conditions.
Some children do not show physical symptoms suggesting celiac disease, and behavior changes like irritability or depression may be attributed to the challenges they face due to diabetes. When a diagnosis is made, parents are often able to create a gluten free menu with the help of experienced dieticians, national organizations, books or parent support groups.
It is important to be aware that gluten may be found in products that we do not consider food and don't suspect would threaten a child's health.
Families raising children with diabetes have often learned enough about how different foods affect blood sugar that the transition to gluten free living is manageable and brief. But parents of children who have neither diabetes nor celiac can sometimes feel overwhelmed and inadequate.
It's perfectly reasonable for the transition to be difficult, and for the child and any siblings to feel frustrated or angry as they adjust to the new restrictions. Including them in the learning process and menu planning can help them develop habits they will need as adults, and they may appreciate parents' efforts more when they are included from the beginning. On the other hand, parents can offer to be responsible for whatever is needed at home, since the child will need to be responsible away from home.
I recommend the childrenwithdiabetes.com email discussion and family support groups because we all sometimes need a little help from our friends. Our children deserve to grow up with parents who have information, support and encouragement enough to get the whole family through the various challenges that arise.
Browse at local bookstores, public libraries, and online retailers for products and books that promote healthier living with diabetes or celiac disease.
Did you know that Gluten Free Groceries and Other Products are available at Amazon.com? Most companies have their own webpages and can be found through any search engine or from links at websites devoted to raising children with celiac disease.
The ChildrenwithDiabetes website has extensive information on children with celiac disease in general and celiac disease in children with diabetes in particular - with email discussion groups for parents that are wonderful.
Children with Diabetes - Celiac