Urine Test Could Sniff Out Heart Disease In Diabetes Patients
November 8, 2013

Urine Test Could Sniff Out Heart Disease In Diabetic Children

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Researchers found that a urine test could now help identify young people with type 1 diabetes who are at risk of heart and kidney disease.

Forty-percent of young people inflicted with type 1 diabetes are at risk of kidney disease as well as heart disease. Scientists writing in the journal Diabetes Care examined the link between levels of albumin in the urine of adolescents with type 1 diabetes and the risk of these diseases. The team was able to show how normal variation in these levels can be an indicator of risk during adolescence.

"Managing type 1 diabetes is difficult enough without having to deal with other health problems. By using early screening, we can now identify young people at risk of heart and kidney disease,” Professor David Dunger, the lead author of the Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes Cardio-Renal Intervention Trial (AdDIT) study from the University of Cambridge, said in a press release. “The next step will be to see if drugs used to treat heart and kidney disease – such as statins and blood pressure lowering drugs – can help prevent kidney and heart complications in this young, potentially vulnerable population."

The study involved 3,353 adolescents between the ages of 10- and 16-years-old with type 1 diabetes. The team measured albumin levels in the participants’ urine, as well as assessed the young people for early signs of heart and kidney diseases such as stiffening of the arteries, abnormal lipid profiles and kidney function.

Researchers discovered adolescents with type 1 diabetes whose urinary albumin levels were in the top 30 percent showed more evidence of early kidney and cardiovascular complications than those with lower levels.

"We are grateful to the study team and all the trial participants for their efforts leading to this initial data,” Helen Nickerson, Scientific Program Manager at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in New York, said in a press release. “We hope the continued participation of subjects as the AdDIT trial progresses will reveal new information about kidney and heart risk in type 1 diabetes, as well as testing a possible way to reduce this risk."

Dr. Sanjay Thakrar, Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, said the findings are exciting because it shows doctors can identify young people at risk of developing these diseases.

“The researchers now need to assess whether early treatment with standard heart medication could help to keep these young people's hearts healthy in the future,” Thakrar said in the press release.

The findings could eventually lead to treatment that would help stop these diseases from occurring early on, said Dr. Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research for Diabetes UK.

“Every year, too many people with type 1 diabetes experience kidney failure and heart disease as a result of their diabetes and this can have a really devastating effect on their lives,” Rankin said in a press release. “While it would be a number of years before this became a widely-available treatment option, this does offer real hope of another way to help people with type 1 diabetes have the best possible chance of a long and healthy life."

Next, the researchers will be exploring whether drugs that lower the amount of fat in the blood and drugs that reduce blood pressure could reduce the risk of kidney and heart disease in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.