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Pediatr Int. 2010 Apr;52(2):230-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2009.02955.x. Epub 2009 Sep 7.

Symptomless celiac disease in type 1 diabetes: 12-year experience in Estonia.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Tartu, Lunini 6, Tartu, 51014, Estonia.



We aimed to determine the prevalence and characteristics of celiac disease in children with type 1 diabetes in Estonia, a country with a formerly low frequency of both diseases.


Altogether, 271 patients with diabetes were studied over 12 years (1995-2006): 122 at diagnosis and 149 patients 0.1-14.8 years after diagnosis. In addition, 73 patients were followed up over 1-6 years. Immunoglobulin A type endomysium and tissue transglutaminase antibodies were determined. Patients with antibodies and/or with celiac-disease-related symptoms were invited for a small-intestinal biopsy.


At the primary screening, celiac disease was histologically confirmed in nine patients (all without symptoms), that is, in 3.3% (95% confidence interval: 1.63-6.42) of type 1 diabetes cases. At follow up, celiac disease was additionally detected in two (2.7%) of 73 diabetic patients, that is, in 0.016 (95% confidence interval: 0-0.072) celiac disease cases per follow-up year.


The prevalence of celiac disease among type 1 diabetes patients in Estonia is similar to that in countries with a high incidence of celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. As celiac disease is mostly symptomless, all children with type 1 diabetes, irrespective of their geographic origin, should be regularly screened for celiac disease.

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