Type 1 diabetes as common in adults as children, but many adults misdiagnosed
Type 1 diabetes is not predominantly a 'disease of childhood' as previously believed, but is similarly prevalent in adults, new research published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology shows.
Research by the University of Exeter Medical School using UK Biobank found that adults are as likely to develop type 1 diabetes as children, with more than 40 per cent of type 1 diabetes cases occurring after the age of 30.
But many of those with type 1 diabetes after the age of 30 are thought to have type 2 diabetes at first, and not initially treated with insulin to control blood sugar levels. Previous published research by the University of Exeter Medical school found that, on average, it took a year for those with type 1 diabetes who had been misdiagnosed with type 2 to be put on insulin (1).
Among the adults with type 1 diabetes to have been misdiagnosed is Theresa May, the Prime Minister, who was initially told by doctors she had type 2 diabetes and given tablets which did not control her blood sugar.
Distinguishing between type 1 or type 2 diabetes matters as it affects the treatment needed. In type 1 diabetes immune cells destroy the body's insulin producing beta cells and people need to be injected insulin to control blood sugar levels. With Type 2 diabetes there is still insulin produced so it can be treated initially with diet and tablet therapy.
Type 1 diabetes has been typically viewed as a disease of childhood and adolescence as it accounts for more than 85 per cent of diabetes in under 20s. (2)
But type 1 cases are harder to recognise and correctly diagnose in adults be Continue reading