June 1, 2006

Type 2 diabetes teens have higher complication risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - 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

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 Care, June 6, 2006.