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Education on Diabetes

Autoimmune conditions linked with type 1 diabetes

As you probably know already type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It can be common for people living with type 1 diabetes to develop other autoimmune conditions.

This post is not to cause any stress, I just think it is good to know which autoimmune conditions are linked to type 1 diabetes, and the symptoms of them. If any symptoms arise, this allows you to speak to your doctor as quickly as possible!

The following autoimmune conditions are more commonly associated with type 1 diabetes:

  • Coeliac’s disease
  • Hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease)
  • Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease)
  • Pernicious anaemia

Keep reading to find out exactly what these conditions are, and the signs and symptoms.

Coeliac’s disease

Coeliac’s disease is where the body attacks the lining of the digestive tract in response to gluten consumption.

The following are some symptoms of coeliac’s:

coeliacs - autoimmune conditions
  • Severe or occasional diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or wind
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Recurrent stomach pain or cramping
  • Iron, B12 or B9 (folate) deficiency
  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness
  • Mouth ulcers

The treatment for coeliac’s disease is to completely remove gluten from the diet to prevent damage to the digestive system.

For further support and information, check out Coeliac UK

Graves’ disease (Hyperthyroidism)

Graves’ disease is when the immune system accidentally attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become overactive. The role of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulates metabolism (energy).

excessive thirst - autoimmune conditions

When the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones in excess, the following symptoms can arise:

  • Hyperactivity – people with overactive thyroid often describe this as nervous energy
  • Mood swings/ irritability
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Persistent tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Thirst
  • Itchiness
  • Goitre (swelling or lump in the neck)

Visit the NHS overactive thyroid page for more information.

Hashimoto disease (Hypothyroidism)

Hashimoto disease is when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland resulting in it becoming under active. To diagnose both Hashimoto and Graves’, a blood test is needed to see how your thyroid is functioning.

Symptoms of Hashimoto disease include:

  • Persistent tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Muscle aches
  • Goitre (lump or swelling in the neck)

If you are diagnosed with an Graves’ or Hashimoto disease, Thyroid UK provides all the information you need to know to get started!

Pernicious anaemia

Pernicious anaemia is when the immune system destroys cells in the stomach that are vital for vitamin B12 absorption. This results in B12 deficiency which causes a variety of symptoms:

tiredness - autoimmune conditions
  • Anaemia symptoms (fatigue, breathlessness, dizziness, paleness)
  • Balance problems
  • Paresthesia (pins and needles)
  • Numbness or burning in hands and feet
  • Loss of taste, smell or hearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor memory or concentration
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive disturbances
  • Tinnitus

Pernicious anaemia can take years to develop, and the severity of symptoms varies between people.

For more information, have a look at Pernicious Anaemia Society

Thank you for reading autoimmune conditions linked to type 1 diabetes! I hope this was informative, and please do not panic if you have any of the above symptoms. If you do, go and see your doctor and have a chat! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Autoimmune diseases 101! and Diabetes technology 101!