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Comorbidities in type 1 diabetes more common with family history of the disease


April 15, 2022

2 min read


Disclosures:
The study was funded by grants from the NIH and the National Science Foundation. Tallon reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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People with type 1 diabetes who have a family history of the disease are more likely to have related comorbidities, compared with those without that family history, according to data from the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry.

Erin M. Tallon

“Having a family history of type 1 diabetes is one of the greatest risk factors for developing the disease,” Erin M. Tallon, MS, RN, a PhD student in the Institute for Data Science and Informatics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, told Healio. “Individuals who have an immediate family member with type 1 diabetes are nine to 15 times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than those who do not have a family history of the disease. We conducted this study to investigate whether having an immediate family history of type 1 diabetes might also be associated with the development of other comorbidities or diabetes-related complications. Our algorithm allowed us to investigate individual comorbid conditions, as well as clusters of comorbid conditions, that tended to be diagnosed more frequently in either group.”

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Tallon and colleagues created a data mining algorithm to analyze associations between demographics, phenotypic factors and comorbidities among participants in the T1D Exchange Clinic Registry who had a family history of type 1 diabetes. Data from the exchange were collected between July 2007 and April 2018. An algorithm was built to discover individual and co-occurring characteristics in people with a family history of type 1 diabetes vs. those with sporadic type 1 diabetes. The algorithm discovered feature patterns with one, two or three elements included.

The findings were published in Diabetes Care.

Of the 16,232 people included in the study, 24.3% had a father, mother, sibling or child with type 1 diabetes. There were 265 significant patterns discovered by the algorithm, including 29 patterns with one element, 103 with two elements and 133 with three elements.

Participants with familial type 1 diabetes had a higher prevalence of hypertension; hyperlipidemia or dyslipidemia; atherosclerosis; retinopathy, maculopathy or vitreopathy; erectile or sexual dysfunction; GERD; neuropathy and nephropathy than those without a family history of type 1 diabetes. There was a higher proportion of Black participants with a family history of type 1 diabetes compared with those without a family history (6.3% vs. 4.1%).

People with sporadic type 1 diabetes were more likely to not have other medical conditions. There was also a higher proportion of Asian and Hispanic participants without a family history of type 1 diabetes compared with those with a family history. People without a family history of type 1 diabetes were also more likely to be diagnosed at age 9 to 18 years than those with a family history.

The researchers wrote that the difference between people with a family history of type 1 diabetes and those without a family history cannot be explained by diabetes duration or mean HbA1c, as both figures were similar between the two groups.

“Knowledge gains from these findings may inform and advance the development of risk prediction tools and personalized interventions for delaying or preventing onset of comorbid conditions and diabetes-related complications,” Tallon said.

For more information:

Erin M. Tallon, MS, RN, can be reached at erin.tallon@mail.missouri.edu.



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