The prevalence of type 2 diabetes within the Republic of Ireland is poorly defined, although a recent report suggested 135,000 cases in adults aged 45+, with approximately one-third of these undiagnosed. This study aims to assess the prevalence of undiagnosed and diagnosed diabetes in middle-aged adults, and compare features related to either condition, in order to investigate why certain individuals remain undetected.
This was a cross-sectional study involving a sample of 2,047 men and women, aged between 50-69 years, randomly selected from a large primary care centre. Univariate logistic regression was used to explore socio-economic, metabolic and other health related variable associations with undiagnosed or diagnosed diabetes. A final multivariate analysis was used to determine odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for having undiagnosed compared to diagnosed diabetes, adjusted for gender, age and significant covariates determined from univariate models.
The total prevalence of diabetes was 8.5% (95% CI: 7.4%-8.8%); 72 subjects (3.5%) had undiagnosed diabetes (95% CI: 2.8%-4.4%) and 102 subjects (5.0%) had diagnosed diabetes (95% CI: 4.1%-6.0%). Obesity, dyslipidaemia, and family history of diabetes were positively associated with both undiagnosed and diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Compared with diagnosed subjects, study participants with undiagnosed diabetes were significantly more likely to have low levels of physical activity and were less likely to be on treatment for diabetes-related conditions or to have private medical insurance.
The prevalence of diabetes within the Cork and Kerry Diabetes and Heart Disease Study is comparable to recent estimates from the SLÁN Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition, a study which was nationally representative of the general population. A considerable proportion of diabetes cases were undiagnosed (41%), emphasising the need for more effective detection strategies and equitable access to primary healthcare.