Increased prevalence of Down's syndrome in individuals with type 1 diabetes in Denmark: A nationwide population-based study

Diabetologia. 2006 Jun;49(6):1179-82. doi: 10.1007/s00125-006-0231-6. Epub 2006 Mar 31.


Aims/hypothesis: In patients with Down's syndrome, dogma has long held that the prevalence of diabetes is increased. The aim of the present study was to determine the actual prevalence of Down's syndrome among type 1 diabetic patients.

Subjects, materials and methods: The background population included all children born in Denmark between 1981 and 2000. Registry-validated and clinical data on type 1 diabetes and Down's syndrome diagnoses were obtained from the National Disease Register and Danish Cytogenetic Central Register, respectively.

Results: The prevalence of Down's syndrome in the background population was 0.09%, whereas we identified a prevalence of Down's syndrome in type 1 diabetes patients of 0.38% (95% CI 0.17-0.75), corresponding to a 4.2-fold increased prevalence compared with the background population (p = 7.3 x 10(-5)).

Conclusions/interpretation: To the best of our knowledge this is the first population-based study addressing the prevalence of Down's syndrome among verified type 1 diabetes patients. A more than fourfold increased prevalence of Down's syndrome among type 1 diabetes patients supports the notion that genes on chromosome 21 may confer risk for type 1 diabetes, probably also in the general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Child
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Down Syndrome / complications
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Prevalence
  • Registries


  • Autoantibodies
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin