NEW ORLEANS (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – There is a high burden of early complications among young adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, results from an ongoing study demonstrated.

“We are witnessing a recent increase in type 2 diabetes in the pediatric U.S. population, paralleling a somewhat more established rise in type 1 diabetes among youth worldwide,” Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, said at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association. “In the face of this increasing disease burden, we are left with limited information on the consequences of having diabetes on these youth, specifically the burden of diabetes-related chronic complications. No study exists in the U.S. that is able to compare this burden in youth with type 2 versus those with type 1 diabetes. Prior studies elsewhere worldwide have used mostly medical records or administrative data, have small sample sizes, and include youth with variable disease duration.”

The aim of the current study was to assess and compare the prevalence of several complications in youth with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes of similar age and disease (short) duration, and to explore the potential risk factors for observed differences by diabetes type. Dr. Dabelea of the department of epidemiology at the University of Colorado School of Public Health in Denver, and her colleagues from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, developed a cohort of 1,746 individuals with type 1 and 272 with type 2 diabetes, diagnosed when younger than age 20, assembled from the population-based SEARCH Registry in five U.S. sites, and registered upon diagnosis between 2002 and 2008. The most recent visit was between 2011 and 2015 when participants were at least 10 years of age.

Outcomes, measured once at the cohort visit between 2010 and 2015, included diabetic kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, peripheral neuropathy, cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy, arterial stiffness, and hypertension.

Dr. Dabelea reported that 32% of youth with type 1 diabetes and 72% of those with type 2 diabetes had at least one early complication. For all complications, except cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy, the prevalence was significantly higher in those with type 2 diabetes, compared with those who had type 1 disease, with a similar pattern by race, especially for minority youth. Estimates were also usually higher within type among minority vs. non-white Hispanic youth, especially for type 2 diabetes. The findings “indicate a need for heightened clinical suspicion and detection of early complications, together with aggressive risk factor control, especially in type 2 diabetes and minority youth,” she concluded.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases funded the study. Dr. Dabelea reported having no financial disclosures.