Death rates for type 2 diabetes on par with adult onset autoimmune diabetes

Individuals who develop autoimmune diabetes as adults have death rates as high as people with type 2 diabetes, a new study reveals.

In the largest study done on mortality in adult-onset autoimmune diabetes, researchers from Norway were surprised by the findings, given that those with autoimmune diabetes developed in adulthood have a more "favorable metabolic profile" compared with people who have type 2 diabetes.

Glycemic control is key

The researchers found that glycemic control was a critical factor in mortality – the higher death rates, when compared with non-diabetic people, were associated with HbA1c levels.

"It says something about the treatment in these patients," Lisa Olsson, study author, told Medscape Medical News. "There was a clear association with poor glycemic control. The excess risk was also seen independently of traditional risk factors."

Adult onset autoimmune diabetes

Slightly different from "classic" type 1 diabetes, adult onset autoimmune diabetes accounts for 10 percent of all diabetes cases. It tends to progress slowly and usually isn't treated with insulin right away.

The study found that individuals with adult onset autoimmune diabetes tended to have less central obesity, lower triglycerides and higher HDL cholesterol than people with type 2 diabetes. And despite the fact that death rates for both populations appeared to be similar in the study, metabolic syndrome affected only 55 percent of those with autoimmune diabetes, while it showed up in 77 percent of those with type 2 diabetes.

Since adult-onset autoimmune diabetes isn't a well-researched condition, Dr. Olsson said that more studies are needed on what risk factors might precede the condition.

"We need to increase knowledge on risk factors for developing autoimmune diabetes in adults and on complications from this form of diabetes," Olsson concluded.

Source: Medscape

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