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Young People With Type 1 Diabetes At Risk For Heart Disease

June 27, 2011

New research shows that adolescents and young adults with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes have thicker and stiffer carotid arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke in adults. This research is believed to be the first to examine whether type 1 diabetes has a measurable effect on carotid arteries in this age group.

The research is part of The SEARCH CVD Study, a collaborative effort between investigators at the Colorado School of Public Health and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Colorado and principal investigator said “We hope that the knowledge provided by the research study will translate into better quality of care and better quality of life for youth with type 1 diabetes and will reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in this patient population.”

Elaine Urbina, MD, a cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, will present the research at the meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego on June 27. “We have new tools for early identification of cardiac and arterial problems in people with type 1 diabetes,” says Dr. Urbina. “This means we can intensify therapy to improve glycemic control and reduce cardiovascular risk factors, especially obesity, thereby improving cardiovascular outcomes in people with type 1 diabetes.

The researchers studied 162 people between the ages of 17 and 23. Seventy-eight percent had type 1 diabetes and the remainder were the control group. After adjusting for age, race, sex and lipids, people with type 1diabetes had both thicker and stiffer carotids than the control group.

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