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September 29, 2009

Other Illnesses

Question from Quincy, Illinois, USA:

My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three. Since then, he has also been diagnosed with seasonal allergies and asthma. Every year, from about October to about March, since being diagnosed with diabetes, he has suffered from several bouts of mycoplasma and, one year, lobe pneumonia. Is there anything that could contribute to this that can be checked out or do we just have to suffer through each year until he grows out of it? We are starting in with the respiratory issues already this year even though he has been on his maintenance inhalers and allergy medicines all along. If you can shed light on this, it would be much appreciated.


There is not much significant increase of asthma or allergies in youngsters with diabetes that we have seen or that is reported in the literature. You should be sure that your allergist/immunologist is aware of the pattern you describe and has done a thorough evaluation for other causes/immune work up, environmental changes that might be tried (i.e., remove carpets, cover mattresses/pillows, air conditioning and filters. Sometimes subtle celiac disease or its variants (positive anti-gliadin antibodies with negative transglutaminase antibodies) suggest that wheat/gluten is a contributor and strict avoidance decreases such allergic problems significantly with some of our patients.