Prevalence of Diabetes in the Republic of Ireland: Results from the National Health Survey (SLAN) 2007

Current estimates of diabetes prevalence in the Republic of Ireland (RoI) are based on UK epidemiological studies. This study uses Irish data to describe the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed diabetes amongst all adults aged 18+ years and undiagnosed diabetes amongst those aged 45+ years.The survey of lifestyle attitudes and nutrition (SLAN) 2007 is based on a nationally representative sample of Irish adults aged 18+ years (n = 10,364). Self-reported doctor-diagnosed diabetes was recorded for respondents in the full sample. Diabetes medication use, measured height and weight, and non-fasting blood samples were variously recorded in sub-samples of younger (n = 967) and older (n = 1,207) respondents.The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed diabetes amongst adults aged 18+ years was 3.5% (95% CI 3.1% - 3.9%). After adjustment for other explanatory variables; the risk of self-reported doctor-diagnosed diabetes was significantly related to age (p < 0.0001), employment status (p = 0.0003) and obesity (p = 0.0003). Amongst adults aged 45+ years, the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed diabetes was 8.9% (95% CI 7.3% -10.5%) and undiagnosed diabetes was 2.8% (95% CI 1.4% - 4.1%). This represented 31.2% of diabetes cases in this age group.Notwithstanding methodological differences, these prevalence estimates are consistent with those in the UK and France. However, the percentage of undiagnosed cases amongst adults aged 45+ years appears to be higher in the RoI. Increased efforts to improve early detection and population level interventions to address adverse diet and lifestyle factors are urgently needed
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