Type 1 Diabetes Through the Life Span: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association

  1. Anne L. Peters4
  2. on behalf of the Type 1 Diabetes Sourcebook Authors*
  1. 1American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, VA
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
  3. 3Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section, Joslin Diabetes Center; Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
  4. 4Division of Endocrinology, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  1. Corresponding author: Jane L. Chiang, jchiang{at}diabetes.org.

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by an immune-mediated depletion of β-cells that results in lifelong dependence on exogenous insulin. While both type 1 and type 2 diabetes result in hyperglycemia, the pathophysiology and etiology of the diseases are distinct and require us to consider each type of diabetes independently. As such, this position statement summarizes available data specific to the comprehensive care of individuals with type 1 diabetes. The goal is to enhance our ability to recognize and manage type 1 diabetes, to prevent its associated complications, and to eventually cure and prevent this disease.

Incidence and Prevalence of Type 1 Diabetes

The exact number of individuals with type 1 diabetes around the world is not known, but in the U.S., there are estimated to be up to 3 million (1). Although it has long been called “juvenile diabetes” due to the more frequent and relatively straightforward diagnosis in children, the majority of individuals with type 1 diabetes are adults.

Most children are referred and treated in tertiary centers, where clinical data are more readily captured. The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study estimated that, in 2009, 18,436 U.S. youth were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (12,945 non-Hispanic white, 3,098 Hispanic, 2,070 non-Hispanic black, 276 Asian-Pacific Islander, and 47 American Indian) (2). Worldwide, ∼78,000 youth are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually. Incidence varies tremendously among countries: East Asians and American Indians have the lowest incidence rates (0.1–8 per 100,000/year) as compared with the Finnish who have the highest rates (>64.2 per 100,000/year) (3). In the U.S., the number of youth with type 1 diabetes was estimated to be 166,984 (4).

The precise incidence of new-onset type 1 diabetes in those over 20 years of age is unknown. This may be due to the prolonged phase of onset and the subtleties in distinguishing the different …

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 37 no. 7 2034-2054
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