Every fifth patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D) has another co-existing autoimmune disease, according to a new research being presented at the 21st European Congress of Endocrinology this week.
Researchers compared the proportion of autoimmune hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, Addison’s disease and coeliac disease in adults in Finland with (n=4,758) and without (n=12,710) T1D from the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy study and the Finnish Public Register Centre.
The study found 21.6 per cent of patients with T1D had at least one additional autoimmune disease and 2.9 per cent had two additional autoimmune diseases, while 7.3 per cent of controls had one autoimmune disease and 0.6 per cent had two.
The most prevalent additional autoimmune disease was hypothyroidism, which was three times more common in patients with T1D compared to controls. Addison’s disease was 24 times more common in patients with T1D, while the risk of coeliac disease was 4.4 times higher. Overall, women had a higher risk of all autoimmune diseases than men.
The authors said the findings highlight the importance of screening diabetes patients for other autoimmune diseases if the patient presents with new symptoms.