medwireNews: The onset of type 1 diabetes during adulthood may be more common than previously thought, which could increase the risk for it being misdiagnosed as type 2 diabetes, says a team of researchers from the USA.
To clarify the age distribution of type 1 diabetes in a general population based on demographic and clinical characteristics, Elizabeth Selvin (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland) and colleagues analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) for 947 participants diagnosed between 2016 and 2022.
The mean age of the participants was 49 years, 52% were men, and 73% were non-Hispanic White.
Diagnosis of type 1 diabetes peaked at age 15 years, but the median age at diagnosis was 24 years, the researchers report. Men tended to be older at diagnosis than women, at a median 27 years versus 22 years, as did racial and ethnic minorities compared with non-Hispanic White individuals, at 26–30 years versus 21 years.
Selvin and authors highlight in a letter to the Annals of Internal Medicine that 37% of adults were diagnosed after the age of 30 years.
They acknowledge, however, that as the NHIS did not include data on diabetes type or age at diagnosis for participants younger than 18 years of age, their analysis might have underestimated the proportion of type 1 diabetes that developed during childhood.
“The onset of type 1 diabetes during adulthood is common, particularly in men and racial/ethnic minorities,” the investigators summarize.
They suggest that novel risk scores combining clinical features and relevant biomarkers, such as autoantibody and C-peptide testing, “may improve type 1 diabetes diagnosis in adults,” beyond traditional biomarkers such as body mass index, which the researchers believe no longer holds significance because of the increased prevalence of obesity in people with type 1 diabetes.
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