March 31, 2000
Question from British Columbia, Canada:
I read with interest a posting that you responded to on December 7, 1999 regarding the connection between diabetes Type 1, hypothyroidism and celiac. You seemed very knowledgeable about a subject which is close to my life currently with my 6 year old daughter.
My daughter is 6 years old and has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes for 14 months. Five months after her diabetes diagnosis, she was put on Synthroid for hypothyroidism, and recently, after 10 months of stomach aches and headaches, she received a positive antibody test for celiac disease.
In a very short period of time, she has experienced three autoimmune diseases, and I am at a loss to understand why, or how to control what is going on in her body. I have been very frustrated by the lack of knowledge regarding a grouping such as these. I also had a very difficult time getting a celiac test done, the popular diagnosis was that her symptoms “should” be considered regular kid tummy-aches.
I have considered bringing her to the U.S. for a really thorough checkup and education session. I am interested in your thoughts. Surely her circumstances are somewhat unusual, and our health care locally are just not set up to accommodate her type of situation.
You are certainly not alone in having difficulty understanding the autoimmune process. However it is the subject of a great deal of research effort and perhaps quite soon its intricacies will be unravelled. If you want to learn more about the Autoimmune Polyglandular (Polyendocrine) Syndrome you might like to look it up in Dr Eisenbarth’s book at www.uchsc.edu/misc/diabetes/ox ch8.html; the text is rather technical but not all that hard to grasp. You could find more up to date references perhaps in PubMed. In any case I think it might help you to think of your daughter as having just one disorder of her immune system but one that is affecting more than one end organ.