Doctors 'wrong to assume type 1 diabetes is childhood illness'
Doctors are wrong to assume that type 1 diabetes mainly affects children, according to a new study that shows it is equally prevalent in adults.
The findings, published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, overturn previous thinking that the form of diabetes, an auto-immune condition, is primarily a childhood illness. Scientists from Exeter University found that in a lot of cases it was actually misdiagnosed among adults.
“Diabetes textbooks for doctors say that type 1 diabetes is a childhood illness. But our study shows that it is prevalent throughout life. The assumption among many doctors is that adults presenting with the symptoms of diabetes will have type 2 but this misconception can lead to misdiagnosis with potentially serious consequences,” said Dr Richard Oram, a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and consultant physician.
The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Diabetes UK, was based on the UK Biobank, a resource which includes data and genetic information from 500,000 people aged between 40 and 69 from across the country. Participants provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis, detailed information about themselves and agreed to have their health followed.
“The key thing we were looking for with this study was whether people presented with type 1 diabetes in adulthood and at what age this occurred. This was only possible because of the unique combination of health records and genetic data,” said Oram.
“What was really surprising in our research is that nearly 50% of type 1 diabetes cases occurred in adulthoo Continue reading