RESEARCH – May 2008

Prevalence of diabetes mellitus among Estonian adult population


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THE AIM of the study was to estimate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus and of other plasma glucose abnormalities in the adult population of Estonia.
METHODS. The study was carried out in Väike-Maarja. A random sample (n = 434) of the population aged 25−70 years was drawn. The sample corresponded to the age and gender structure of the general population in Estonia. Of the invited subjects 85% (n = 368) participated in the study. The prevalence of known diabetes was determined on the basis of patient questionnaires and general practitioner records. Fasting venous plasma glucose (FPG) was measured in all subjects. If FPG was ≥5.6 mmol/l an oral glucose tolerance test was performed by standard methodology. Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) were diagnosed according to the criteria of WHO 1999. The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) was estimated according to the criteria of both WHO 1999 (FPG 6.1−6.9 mmol/l) and ADA 2003 (FPG 5.6−6.9 mmol/l).
RESULTS. Diabetes had been previously diagnosed in 7.1% of the subjects. Unknown diabetes was found in 6 (1.6%) and IGT in 7 (1.9%) subjects. Isolated IFG was present in 9 (2.4%) and 21 (5.7%) subjects, using the WHO and the ADA criteria respectively.
CONCLUSIONS. The prevalence of diabetes in Estonia is higher than estimated previously in corresponding global reports. Since the use of the ADA criteria leads to a striking increase in prevalence of IFG and the consequences of this change are not sufficiently analysed, the adoption of the ADA IFG criteria is currently not substantiated.