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Type 2 Diabetes Teens Have Higher Complication Risk Then Type 1’s

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2006

Young people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to have high blood pressure and signs of kidney damage than their counterpart who have type 1 diabetes, even though type 2 diabetic have had the disease for a much shorter time.

The findings underscore the importance of screening children for complications when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They also suggest that it may make sense to look for these complications in children who are simply at risk of the disease, "because early treatment may reverse complications," Dr. Maria Craig of The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, and her colleagues in Australia report.

In type 1 diabetes, also called early-onset diabetes or juvenile diabetes, the immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body loses its ability to respond to insulin, and is associated with being overweight and inactive. Formerly seen almost exclusively in adults, type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common in children.

Craig's group investigated the prevalence of diabetes-related complications among young people with both types of the disease. They looked at 1,433 patients with type 1 diabetes and 68 with type 2 diabetes, all under 18.

On average, type 1 patients had been diabetic for 6.8 years, compared with 1.3 years for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetics had their blood sugar under better control, on average, than the type 1 patients.

However, microalbuminuria - a protein that signals kidney damage when found in the urine -- was detected in 28 percent of the type 2 diabetes patients compared with 6 percent of those with type 1. Thirty-six percent of type 2 diabetes patients had high blood pressure, compared with 16 percent of type 1 diabetes patients.

The only complication that was significantly more common in the type 1 patients was retinopathy, a progressive damage to the small blood vessels inside the retina that can cause blindness, which was diagnosed in 20 percent compared with 4 percent of the type 2 group.


Source: Diabetes In Control: Diabetes Care, June 6, 2006

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