Adult-Onset Type 1 Diabetes Increases Risk of Developing Other Autoimmune Diseases

Recent studies show; (1) Onset of type 1 diabetes is equally likely to occur after age 30 as prior to age 30 and, (2) the risk of developing one or more additional autoimmune diseases increases with age of onset of type 1 diabetes. The results of these studies are significant because patients that present with type 1 diabetes after the age of 30 may be misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes and typically do not receive insulin, the necessary treatment for type 1 diabetes. Additionally, patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after the age of 30, are at an increased risk of developing one or more additional autoimmune diseases.

Previously type 1 diabetes was thought to be a childhood disease and type 2 diabetes an adult disease, however; data published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology in December, 2017, showed more than 40% of cases of type 1 diabetes can occur after the age of 30. Distinguishing between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is critical as it affects treatment. In type 1 diabetes the insulin producing beta cells have been destroyed and patients require insulin to control blood sugar levels. Patients with type 2 diabetes are initially still able to produce some insulin and can usually be treated with oral medication. The delay in proper care can have a significant impact on a patient’s health in both the short and long term.

Now researched presented at the ENDO 2018 meeting showed patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after the age of 40 have twice the risk of developing one or more additional autoimmune diseases such as; thyroid disease, Crohn’s disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, anemia or rheumatoid arthritis, as patients that present with type 1 diabetes in childhood.

Key findings/recommendations:

  • One or more additional autoimmune conditions were present in 35.7% of patients overall and in 47% of women.
  • The risk for developing additional autoimmune conditions is double for those with type 1 diabetes after age 40 years compared with onset at 10 years or younger.
  • Every newly diagnosed type 1 patient should be screened for thyroid disease.

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica uses stem cell therapy to treat the symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as; type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Researchers have shown mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to differentiate, self-renew, suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation, and repair tissue. In type 1 diabetes, mesenchymal stem cells can help stop beta cell destruction and preserve beta cell function and mass. Stem cells can, modulate a patient’s immune system so that it no longer mistakenly attacks the beta cells, and can also repair damaged beta cells. The patient’s new beta cells will function appropriately, correctly controlling blood sugar levels. Preliminary results from one clinical trial showed the effect on the immune system by mesenchymal stem cells allowed beta cells to regenerate and improve glycemic control in patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, contact the professionals at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to see if stem cell therapy is right for you.


Patients interested in stem cell therapy can find daily direct flights out of; Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Houston, TX; Atlanta, GA; Newark, NJ; Dallas, TX; and Miami, FL.