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I am 31 years old, and I have had Hashimoto's thyroiditis since I was 14. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year, and I'm finding that I must educate all those around me. Most people have no idea about the differences between type 1 and type 2 and don't know that type 1 can and does strike adults. After all "diabetes" is that disease adults get from being fat and lazy (see nearly every story that makes the news these days about the growing epidemic of Type 2 in America.)

I know that 90% of people with diabetes have type 2, but how many of the remaining 10% are like me and get type 1 well past childhood? I want to know just how little my minority is. From the latest statistics that you have available, what is your estimate of the percentage of children versus adults (let's say over age 21years) who develop type 1?


I don't think that there are any reliable statistics that can be used to answer your question. For one thing the etiology of Late-onset Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA) is not yet fully determined; but does seem to differ in antibody response from typical typeá1A (autoimmune) diabetes in childhood and adolescence. For another, there is evidence that LADA cases may be missed because antibody tests are not always done in young adults and 'hybrid' diabetes is now described in which new onset cases may have characteristics of both typeá1 and typeá2 diabetes.

Because of the thyroiditis, it is almost certain that you have autoimmune diabetes. The proportion of typical cases that develop after age 20 in a North American clinic setting must be less than 1%. I hope this gives you an approximate idea of frequency.


Additional comments from Dr. Philip Ledereich:

Good luck to you. Just grin and bear it and educate those around you. You can not change anyone's misconceptions, especially when they are getting much (mis)information from the media. Use it as a time to help them understand how important it is not to take anything for granted, including good health.


Original posting 10 Feb 2003
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:42
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