Introduction: Screening patients with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) for other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disorders has been recommended by international guidelines. Data from the Middle East is currently limited. This study aims to identify the pattern and prevalence of thyroid disorders among the UAE population with T1DM.
Method: A retrospective cohort study was conducted looking at all adult patients (age ≥16 years) attending Imperial College London Diabetes Centers in the UAE from 2007 to 2017. All adult patients with T1DM who had thyroid function test done were included. Categorical variable analysis and logistic regression analysis were used to identify factors associated with increased risk of thyroid dysfunction.
Results: Total of 2865 patients with T1DM had thyroid function checked (55% males, mean age 29.7 ± 11.2 years). Overt hypothyroidism (TSH>10 mIU/ml) was observed in 11.7% of patients and was more common in females (68%). Subclinical hypothyroidism (TSH 4.6 to 10 mIU/ml) was noted in 1.3%, 0.9% had overt hyperthyroidism (TSH <0.01 mIU/ml with elevated serum free T3, T4) and 0.4% had subclinical hyperthyroidism (TSH <0.4 mIU/ml with normal serum free T3, T4). 85.7% had normal thyroid function test result. Total of 430 patients had Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO) tested, 52.8% had positive results (≥35 IU/ml). Higher prevalence of thyroid dysfunction noted in patients with positive TPO (72.2%) compared to patients with negative TPO (28.6%) (odds ratio 6.2, 95% confidence interval 4.09.5, P<0.001).
Conclusions: Our results indicate that thyroid dysfunction is common in the UAE population with T1DM. The most frequent thyroid dysfunction was overt hypothyroidism (11.7%). Assessment of TPO antibodies is valuable in detecting and predicting thyroid dysfunction in patients with T1DM. Our results reinforce the importance of annual screening for thyroid disorder in the UAE population with T1DM.