Long-standing coeliac disease, also commonly known as celiac disease, may increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy in people with type 1 diabetes, according to a new study published online in Diabetes Care.
Coeliac disease is a condition that develops as a result of damage to the lining of the small intestine. This damage is caused by gluten and results in vital nutrients not being properly absorbed, which in turn can lead to a host of other problems.
To examine whether this disease affects the risk of retinopathy – the most common form of diabetic eye disease – in patients with type 1 diabetes, researchers in Swede, led by Kaziwe Mollazadega, MD, of the Stockholm-based Karolinska Institutet, analysed over 41,000 patients diagnosed with diabetes between 1964 and 2009. Each patient was aged 30 years or younger at the time of diagnosis .
During follow-up, the research team reported 947 cases of coeliac disease among patients with type 1 diabetes and found that the longer these patients had coeliac disease, the more likely they were to develop diabetic retinopathy.
They concluded that type 1 diabetics who received a coeliac disease diagnosis 10 or more years ago are at greater risk of diabetic retinopathy and should therefore be intensely monitored for this dangerous complication.

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