The percentage of the population with diabetes is highly variable among geographical regions and populations, so estimates are often inaccurate.
A recent figure is 180 million people around the world with diabetes, but most of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes probably comprises between 10 and 15% of all cases of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Most often it begins before the age of 40, with the peak incidence being around 14 years old.
A strong family history is a definite risk factor for type 1 diabetes, although the way in which the disease is inherited is not clear. There is a strong association between type 1 diabetes and the HLA-D complex on the sixth chromosome.
For more information on care and support of diabetes visit Diabetes South Africa or phone them on 086 111 3913.
- (Diabetes SA/Health24, updated May 2009)