To assess the burden of disease for adults with type 1 diabetes in a U.S. electronic health record database by evaluating acute and microvascular complications stratified by age and glycemic control.
This is a retrospective observational study of adults with type 1 diabetes (1 July 2014–30 June 2016) classified using a validated algorithm, with disease duration ≥24 months and, during a 12-month baseline period, not pregnant and having one or more insulin prescriptions and one or more HbA1c measurements. Demographic characteristics, acute complications (severe hypoglycemia [SH], diabetic ketoacidosis [DKA]), and microvascular complications (neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy) were stratified by age (18–25, 26–49, 50–64, ≥65 years) and glycemic control (HbA1c <7%, 7% to <9%, ≥9%).
Of 31,430 patients, ~20% had HbA1c <7%. Older patients had lower HbA1c values than younger patients (P < 0.001). Patients with poor glycemic control had the highest annual incidence of SH (4.2%, 4.0%, and 8.3%) and DKA (1.3%, 2.8%, and 15.8%) for HbA1c <7%, 7% to <9%, and ≥9% cohorts, respectively (both P < 0.001), and a higher prevalence of neuropathy and nephropathy (both P < 0.001).
For adults with type 1 diabetes, glycemic control appears worse than previously estimated. Rates of all complications increased with increasing HbA1c. Compared with HbA1c <7%, HbA1c ≥9% was associated with twofold and 12-fold higher incidences of SH and DKA, respectively. Younger adults had more pronounced higher risks of SH and DKA associated with poor glycemic control than older adults.