Connections between type 1 diabetes and asthma in children more complex

by Barbara Hewitt on January 3, 2018

The associations between type 1 diabetes and asthma in children are more complex than originally thought, according to new research.

A prior diagnosis of asthma was linked with an increased subsequent risk of type 1 diabetes by 41%, however, a previous diagnosis of type 1 diabetes decreased the risk of subsequent asthma by 18%.


(By Poprotskiy Alexey/

The study by researchers from Finland involved a review of children born in the country between 1981 and 2008. A total of 81,473 children diagnosed with asthma up to the age of 16 were identified using the Central Drug Registry, as well as 9,541 children with type 1 diabetes.

These children were then referenced against a 10% random sample of children selected from each birth year as researchers investigated transition rates between healthy and autoimmune disease states from birth.

Following adjustment for variables such as sex and birth decade, children with asthma were more likely to develop type 1 diabetes compared with healthy children. But asthma developed less frequently in those already diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

‘The findings of the present study imply that the association between the diseases is more complex than previously thought, and its direction depends on the sequential appearance of the diseases,’ said the study published by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (NIHW) in Finland.

In children with both disorders, asthma was diagnosed before type 1 diabetes in 75.7% of children, while 20.9% had type 1 diabetes diagnosed before asthma, and 3.3% were diagnosed with both conditions within the same month.

The NIHW said that more work needs to be done on the relationship between asthma and type 1 diabetes, in particular whether the use of corticosteroids to treat asthma could have a role to play.

‘The association between asthma and type 1 diabetes, two chronic, immune mediated diseases, has been of longstanding interest, but the evidence is still conflicting,’ the study report added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivan January 17, 2018 at 9:44 am

I never had asthma but have type1 diabetes…?


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