Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gluten and Diabetes.

*FYI: This will be a big repeat of info for a lot of my friends who follow me on my other blog, already, sorry!

Well, I've done it. I've divorced myself from gluten. And I want to tell you about it, in case you are having the same experiences that I have been having and don't know what to do.

I've been having lots of GI symptoms on and off for the past few years. At first I chalked it up to my known issues with dairy(lactose intolerance). But, even if I avoided dairy, I'd still have stomach issues. I'd get really bloated, have some "lower intestinal distress" and my blood sugars would be crazy. For example, I'd take my insulin & eat, my stomach would feel really bloated like it wasn't digesting, I'd plummet low because (I assume) my food wasn't digesting or absorbing yet. Then, I'd treat this low, and then hours later I'd skyrocket high as my food finally digested! I thought I had gastroparesis. We all know this can be a complication of diabetes, and a scary and particularly trying one at that. And I was super in denial about having this, even though the symptoms were spot on.

I finally told my endo I was having stomach issues, and she suggested I be tested for celiac disease via a blood test. The blood test came back negative, but she suggested I try going gluten free because I might have a gluten intolerance that wasn't showing up on the blood screening. I didn't take her advice (mostly because I thought going GF would be hard!), and just suffered. Well, to make a long story short, several friends (both Type 1 and not) and a cousin of mine have all had to stop eating gluten as of late, and their experiences motivated me to try it.

Good crap, what a difference it has made! Not only have those symptoms which I thought were gastroparesis disappeared, but my blood sugars have been SO much easier to control, and I suspect I might actually need LESS insulin now! When I don't eat gluten, I don't have any of those problems I was having before!

From reading some forums where other diabetics suspected they had gastroparesis, I know that there are some people out there who have the symptoms, but all the tests (like gastric emptying tests) say they don't have it. And they suffer a lot, without any diagnosis. I want to encourage those people to maybe try eliminating gluten and see if that helps! I didn't realize how similar the symptoms could be-and at the same time how varied the symptoms for gluten intolerance are-, and I think a lot of doctors don't always think to test for stuff like gluten intolerance or food allergies. I also want both doctors & patients (especially Type 1s) to know that gluten intolerance and celiac disease are often co-morbid with Type 1, and that we all need to be much more vigilant about make sure we are screening and testing for this, just like we do for other co-morbidities like thyroid problems.

So, that's my story about gluten. I hope it helps someone out there in some way!