Sweden has 2-3 times as many adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes as previously thought

April 6, 2014

New research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) suggests that Sweden—the country already thought to have the second highest prevalence of type 1 diabetes in the world—could have 2-3 times more adolescents and young adults with type 1 diabetes than previously estimated. The research is by Dr Araz Rawshani, Swedish National Diabetes Register, Gothenburg, Sweden, and colleagues.

Current estimates in Sweden are based on the Diabetes Incidence Study in Sweden (DISS), which has been around since 1983. The DISS is one of very few registers to record data on adolescents and young adults and therefore findings from the DISS study have had implications for research and care in many countries. Dr Rawshani and colleagues found that the DISS had very low coverage which discards previous findings.

The researchers found that they could more accurately estimate actual numbers by examining the country's Prescribed Drug Register (PDR) and establishing a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes via a patient's prescription medications; men with at least 1 and women with at least 3 prescriptions for insulin were included as having type 1 diabetes if they had not been given oral antidiabetic drugs. Women needed three prescriptions to avoid confusion with , and oral antidiabetic drugs ruled out a type 1 diabetes diagnosis since these are used in patients with type 2 diabetes.

They then compared the results from the PDR with incidence rates in patients aged 14 and younger in the Swedish Childhood Diabetes Register (SCDR), which has almost all (95-99%) cases in that age group included, and by assessing diabetes type among 18-34 year olds in the National Diabetes Register (NDR). The absolute number of cases in adolescents and young adults aged 18-34 years was found to be 1,217 in the PDR, almost 3 times that originally thought (435 based on the DISS).

The researchers also found that their findings did not back previous research that the incidence is increasing among children and therefore decreasing in the rest of the population. Previous theories have stated that individuals develop disease earlier, but the total number of individuals has not changed. The new study shows that the incidence in adolescents and is 2-3 times higher than previously reported and is actually as high as that reported in children aged 0-4 years. Consequently these previous theories are now being strongly questioned. "Our analysis of the Prescribed Drug Register found that that incidence rates in young people aged 15-34 years were equal to those in children aged 0-4 years," say the authors.

Since all patients with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes must be entered into the PDR, the researchers say that this should be the ongoing method to determine type 1 diabetes incidence in any future studies. The authors say: "The incidence of is 2

Explore further: Rise in type 2 diabetes amongst young

Related Stories

Rise in type 2 diabetes amongst young

May 20, 2013

The number of young people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has seen the sharpest rise over the last twenty years compared to a background of a general increase across the board, new University research has found.

Burden of diabetic ketoacidosis still unacceptably high

March 31, 2014

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening but preventable condition, remains an important problem for youth with diabetes and their families. Diabetic ketoacidosis is due to a severe lack of insulin and it is often ...

Recommended for you

Do germs cause type 1 diabetes?

May 16, 2016

Germs could play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes by triggering the body's immune system to destroy the cells that produce insulin, new research suggests.

Melatonin signaling is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes

May 12, 2016

A sleeping pancreas releases less insulin, but how much insulin drops each night may differ from person to person, suggests a study published May 12, 2016 in Cell Metabolism. Up to 30 percent of the population may be predisposed ...

New gene for familial high cholesterol

May 12, 2016

New research from Denmark reveals the gene that explains one quarter of all familial hypercholesterolemia with very high blood cholesterol. Familial hypercholesterolemia is the most common genetic disorder leading to premature ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.