Speciality: Biochemistry Biomedical Scientist
Location: East Of England
Speciality: Microbiology Biomedical Scientist
Location: East Of England
Speciality: Blood transfusion
Location: Beds and Herts
Doctors and biomedical scientists alike need to make sure they are not dismissing the possibility of people being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for the first time in adulthood.
Typically, type 1 diabetes is regarded as a disease that affects children, with type 2 diabetes seen as more of an adult's condition. However, new research from scientists at the University of Exeter has revealed misdiagnosis of the specific types of the illness is putting the health of some patients at risk.
Medics have traditionally been taught that type 1 diabetes manifests itself in childhood, but new figures published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology reveal that more than 40 per cent of type 1 diabetics are actually diagnosed with the condition when they are aged 30 or over.
Lead author of the study Richard Oram explained: "Diabetes textbooks for doctors say that type 1 diabetes is a childhood illness. But our study shows that is is prevalent throughout life."
Currently, however, many patients are instead told they have type 2 diabetes due to doctors presuming this is the case, then begin receiving the incorrect treatment for their needs, putting their health at risk.
The charity Diabetes UK is therefore urging blood testers and GPs alike to be extra vigilant when testing and diagnosing diabetic patients.
Although most people with type 1 diabetes receive their diagnosis before the age of 40, many are diagnosed in their thirties, so it is vital that doctors are not ruling out this possibility when assessing patients' health.
Diabetes UK suggested that referring to type 1 diabetes as 'juvenile' or 'early onset' diabetes may not be helping matters, so is calling for a complete attitude change towards the condition.
Emily Burns of Diabetes UK commented: "While more research is needed to understand the realities of misdiagnosis, we'd ask healthcare professionals to have this insight in mind: don't rule out type 1 diabetes after the age of 30."
Written by Martin Lambert
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