Obesity and overweight are becoming more frequent in persons with type 1 diabetes, despite the fact that type 1 diabetes is usually thought to be a condition of lean people. According to a new study, persons with type 1 diabetes should be evaluated for obesity and chronic renal disease on a frequent basis. The study was published in the ‘Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism’ of the Endocrine Society.
lmost half of the adults in the United States have obesity, a chronic progressive disease characterized by an individual having an excess of body fat. Obesity is known to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and people with obesity have an increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions such as diabetes, heart and liver disease. Obesity is the main risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, but it had not been previously seen as a major complication in type 1 diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the body completely stops making insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin, but the cells do not respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often do not make enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more likely to occur in people who are over the age of 40, overweight, and have a family history of diabetes, although more and more younger people are developing type 2 diabetes.
“Our study shows that obesity rates in adults with type 1 diabetes are increasing and mirror the rates in the general adult population,” said Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, M.P.H., of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. “Our research also highlights the high risk of kidney disease in people with type 1 diabetes. Kidney disease is often considered more common in people with type 2 diabetes, but our data shows adults with type 1 diabetes actually had a higher risk of kidney disease than those with type 2.”
The researchers studied data from 4,060 people with type 1 diabetes and 135,458 people with type 2 diabetes from Pennsylvania based Geisinger Health System between 2004-2018. They found 37 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes had obesity, and the prevalence of kidney disease was higher in people with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 after adjusting for age differences (16 per cent vs. 9 per cent in 2018).
“Our results highlight the need for interventions to prevent weight gain and end-stage kidney disease in people with type 1 diabetes,” Selvin said.