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Improving diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in later life

Project summary

In people over the age of 50, diagnosing the type of diabetes can be more difficult. Dr Jones aims to find features and tests that are best able to help diagnose type 1 diabetes in later life. This could reduce the number of people who are misdiagnosed and ensure people with diabetes avoid receiving inappropriate advice and treatment.

Background to research

Diagnosing which type of diabetes someone has is really important, so they can manage their condition correctly. But this is more difficult to get right in older adults, with around 10,000 people each year in the UK being misdiagnosed. This could lead to many years of inappropriate advice, education and treatment.

A number of blood tests have been suggested to help doctors diagnose the type of diabetes, but we need more evidence that they’re effective.

Research aims

Dr Jones’ research aims to improve the diagnosis of diabetes in later life. He’ll recruit people over the age of 50 with newly diagnosed diabetes, half of who have been given an original diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and will be treated with insulin. After three years, they’ll be given tests that confirm if they do have type 1 diabetes.

Dr Jones and his team will evaluate the different tests available to find out which ones are helpful in diagnosing late onset type 1 diabetes. This information will be used to build a clinical calculator and phone app to help doctors tell what type of diabetes a person has.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This study could help doctors to improve the diagnosis of people developing diabetes in later life. A more accurate diagnosis will mean more people will receive the right treatment at the right time, and could prevent potentially life-threatening complications linked with misdiagnosis. 

This project has been adopted by:

Diabetes UK local groups: Exeter

Organisations: Foster Wood Foundation; The Violet M Richards Charity
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