Is Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis Leveling Off?

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • In a recent study out of Finland, it appears that the occurrence of Type 1 diabetes may be leveling off. Finland has always had the highest occurrence of Type 1 of anywhere in the world.  This is great news, but the question remains why, and it is leveling off anywhere else?  If the researchers can figure out what the reason is, this could have repercussions everywhere else. 


    Finland, which has a great track record for keeping statistical data on diabetes, saw a peak in Type 1 diabetes in 2006.  The average diagnosis rate was 40 cases per 100,000 people, but in 2006, that number had reached 65 cases per 100,000.

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    The study examined records between 2006-2011, and, to look at trending, they looked at records from 1980 to 2011. Here’s what was reported:

    • The review found 14,069 children -- 7,695 boys and 6,374 girls -- diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over the 32-year period. That included 3,332 new cases from 2006 through 2011.
    • Over the study period, the peak incidence was seen in 2006 with some 64.9 cases per 100,000 person-years. The lowest rate was seen in 2009, at 58.3 cases per 100,000 person-years.
    • The average annual incidence from 2006 through 2011 was 62.5 cases per 100,000 person-years, Harjutsalo and colleagues reported. 

    It was also noted that children under the age of 15 had been the highest diagnosis.  The encouraging news was that Finnish children under the age of 15 has hit a plateau.


    The authors of the paper explained one possible explanation for the plateau: environmental changes. In 2003, dairy products were fortified with vitamin d, which may have contributed to the leveling off.  The US has been fortifying dairy products for years as well, but I have not heard if there has been an effect on the numbers of new cases of diabetes. Other factors might be obese and overweight children. Also, enterovirus infections were noted to be lower in the last few years. 


    Obviously, I’m suspect that vitamin d, alone, would reduce diabetes, although I have read that before. But, it certainly gives food for thought.

Published On: July 29, 2013