Celiac disease (CD) is a common comorbidity seen in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and is frequently asymptomatic. As chronic conditions requiring significant lifestyle changes, there are limited reports assessing changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) during transition to a gluten-free diet (GFD) in patients with T1D who are asymptomatic for CD.
This work aims to prospectively assess HRQoL and health perception in children and adults with T1D and asymptomatic CD after random assignment to GFD vs usual diet.
Patients with T1D aged 8 to 45 years without CD symptoms were serologically screened for CD, with positive results confirmed with intestinal biopsy. Participants were randomly assigned in an open-label fashion to a GFD or gluten-containing diet (GCD) for 12 months. Generic and diabetes-specific HRQoL and self-perceived wellness (SPW) were assessed longitudinally.
A total of 2387 T1D patients were serologically screened. CD was biopsy-confirmed in 82 patients and 51 participants were randomly assigned to a GFD (N = 27) or GCD (N = 24). Excellent adherence to the assigned diets was observed. Overall, no changes in generic (P = .73) or diabetes-specific HRQoL (P = .30), or SPW (P = .41) were observed between groups over 12 months. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and gastrointestinal symptoms were consistent predictors of HRQoL and SPW.
HRQoL and SPW were not significantly affected by the adoption of a GFD over 12 months, but worsened with symptom onset and increased HbA1c. Our findings indicate that transition to a GFD can be made successfully in this population without adversely affecting quality of life.