Youth with Type 2 Diabetes Develop Complications More Often Than Type 1 Peers
Teens and young adults with type 2 diabetes develop kidney, nerve and eye diseases—as well as some risk factors for heart disease—more often than their peers with type 1 diabetes in the years shortly after diagnosis. The results are the latest findings of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, published Feb. 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Funded by NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SEARCH researchers examined how quickly and often youth developed signs of kidney, nerve and eye diseases, among the most common complications of diabetes. They also measured several risk factors for heart disease. Participants had diabetes an average of under 8 years at the end of the study.
The study is the largest of its kind in the United States. Key findings are:
- For youth with type 2 diabetes, nearly 20 percent developed a sign of kidney disease by the end of the study, compared to about 6 percent of youth with type 1 diabetes.
- For youth with type 2, about 18 percent developed nerve disease, versus about 9 percent with type 1.
- For youth with type 2, about 9 percent developed eye disease, compared to about 6 percent of youth with type 1.
- Measures for two risk factors for heart disease (hypertension and arterial stiffness) were greater for youth with type 2 but close to equal for a third risk factor (cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy).
- Though youth with type 2 diabetes showed signs of complications more often in nearly every measure than their peers with type 1, many youth in both groups developed complications.
“There’s often the assumption that young people don’t develop complications from diabetes, but that’s just not true. We saw that young people with diabetes are developing signs of major complications in the prime of their lives,” said Dr. Barbara Linder, a study author and senior advisor for childhood diabetes research at NIDDK. “Particularly for youth with type 2, this research demonstrates the clear need to learn how to reduce or delay the debilitating complications of diabetes, itself a huge challenge for young people to manage.”