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Being Short Linked with Diabetic Complications

Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Being short in adulthood is associated with an increased risk of microvascular complications in patients with Type 1 diabetes, according to a report.

Short stature in adults has been associated with hypertension, early arterial stiffening, cardiovascular disease, impaired glucose tolerance, and other disorders of glucose metabolism, the authors explain, but the association between short stature and diabetic complications is uncertain.

To determine whether such an association exists, Dr. Johan Waden from Folkhalsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues in the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy (FinnDiane) Study Group analyzed 3,968 adults from the FinnDiane study and 1,246 adults from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), all with Type 1 diabetes.

In multiple logistic regression analyses, short stature in the FinnDiane study was independently associated with diabetic nephropathy and laser-treated retinopathy. After adjustment for years of diabetes exposure during the years of linear growth, however, adult stature was no longer associated with nephropathy or retinopathy.

In the DCCT cohort, short stature was associated with more than a doubling of the risks for nephropathy and retinopathy. In this population, more patients had diabetes onset after age 18, and the association with renal sequelae was independent of childhood diabetes exposure. In a Cox regression model, however, short stature was not independently associated with retinopathy.

"This study indicates that short adult stature is associated with higher prevalence and incidence of microvascular complications in patients with Type 1 diabetes," the investigators conclude. "Understanding the mechanisms underlying these associations could identify novel preventative strategies."

Source: Diabetes In Control: Diabetes Aug. 2009;58:1914-1920.

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