Background: In the last decade, an increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) has been observed worldwide, as well as an increase in the incidence of allergies in childhood. Both diseases are characterized by an imbalance between Th1- and Th2 cells. Autoimmune disorders are considered to be associated with a Th1 immune response while allergic diseases with a Th2 response. However, studies conducted to find a correlation between T1D and atopic diseases are heterogeneous and controversial.
Objective and hypotheses: The aim of the study was to investigate if children with T1D tend to have a greater risk to develop allergies than children without T1D.
Method: We asked 179 patients with T1D (mean age 14.5 years, ±6.3; mean duration of diabetes 6.5 years, ±5.0; mean HbA1c 8.25%,±1.12) to fill out a questionnaire about allergic symptoms. Questions on the family history, duration of breast feeding, nicotine exposure and pets were also included. In addition, blood tests of each patient were taken to analyze sensitizations against 20 common allergens (Phadia-CAP). To compare our results, we asked a control group of 88 healthy children (mean age 10.8 years, ±4.7) to fill out the same questionnaire and had them tested on the same allergen sensitizations in the blood.
Results: According to the questionnaires, the control group reported slightly more allergic symptoms than our patients with T1D. However, the difference was not statistically significant (P=0.366). On the other hand, the blood tests showed a tendency (P=0.059) to be more often positive (44%) in T1D patients than in healthy controls (31%).
Conclusion: We found some evidence for a higher rate of atopic patients among our patients with T1D than in a healthy control group. These results indicate a growing importance of environmental factors causing an increase in both T1D and atopic diseases.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology