Diabetes: 10% of Cases among 50+ are undiagnosed

New research as part of the TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing in Trinity College Dublin) shows that 10% of adults aged 50 and over in Ireland, the equivalent to 120,000 older adults, have type 2 diabetes, rising to 16% in those aged 80 and over. The study from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing further reveals that one in ten cases of the disease are undiagnosed in this population. A further 5.5% of the older population have pre-diabetes, placing them at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

The good news is that if you have prediabetes it can be reversed or Type 2 can be managed easily through diet. I give some tips on doing this below.


Key Findings:

1 in 10 of the population aged over 50 in Ireland had diabetes, the equivalent to 120,000 people aged over 50 in Ireland. The majority had their diabetes diagnosed but a substantial proportion of those were undiagnosed (1 in 10).


The prevalence of pre-diabetes was 5.5%. .


Type 2 diabetes was more common in men (12%) than women (7%) and increased with age from 5% in 50-59 year olds to 16% in those aged 80+.


There is a strong relationship between being male and both diabetes and pre-diabetes. A self-reported history of hypertension and being centrally obese also had strong relationships with both diabetes and pre-diabetes.


There was a strong relationship with increasing age, a self-reported history of high cholesterol, having poor or fair self-rated health and reporting low levels of physical activity with having diabetes.


Undiagnosed type 2 diabetes was more common outside of Dublin; compared to those living in Dublin city or county, persons living in other urban or rural areas were more likely to have undiagnosed diabetes.


Private health insurance holders were less likely to have it compared to those with neither public nor private medical costs cover.

This research is unique because it provides the first national prevalence of diagnosed, undiagnosed and pre-diabetes in older Irish adults and shows that our rates are similar to those of other European countries.

Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of death and disability in Ireland and internationally. It is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, heart failure, kidney disease and falls, resulting in disability, loss of independence and early mortality. Consequently, it accounts for approximately 10% of Irish healthcare expenditure.

When you have Type 2 diabetes your nutritional needs are the same as everyone else—no special foods or complicated diets are needed. The key to eating well is:

  1. eating regularly,
  2. watching your serving size
  3. following a healthy eating plan that is low in refined sugars and fat.


This means choosing lower fat options when eating meat, poultry, dairy products and spreads, enjoying a good variety of fresh fruit and vegetables (best source of Fibre), getting the majority of your energy from unrefined and whole grain starches (e.g. potatoes and wholegrain bread and cereals) and keeping high sugar, high fat foods as treats only.

Exercise is also important so try your best to include some form of exercise in your day.

Check out my previous blog articles on fat intake and protein intake to help you manage these easily on a day to day basis.

Finally, a staggering 35% of people over the age of 50 are obese in Ireland today! Another 44% are overweight! So almost 80% of the over 50 population are suffering from or at a severe risk of Type 2 diabetes! So the best way of getting out of these statistics is losing weight by managing your fat and sugar and calorie intake as well as exercising.

All our meals are designed to help you to do this so you don’t have to think about it. Even our desserts are healthy with no added sugar, low in fat and high in protein.

Life Kitchen is a new business that fully prepares delicious and healthy meals. We have the ability to send these meals anywhere in the country (even to the islands!). To get your own healthy meals delivered to your home, gym or workplace then check our the rest of our site lifekitchen.ie or specifically our meal plans page where you can select to get 3, 5 or 7 meals a week delivered to you https://lifekitchen.ie/subscription-meal-plans/

Share this post

One thought on “Diabetes: 10% of Cases among 50+ are undiagnosed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *