Study suggests Type 2 diabetes in youth often leads to medical complications

Aug. 9, 2021

South Texas youth whose Type 2 diabetes was followed for up to 15 years in studies have made an immensely important contribution to understanding the early onset form of the disease, clinicians and researchers at UT Health San Antonio and University Health’s Texas Diabetes Institute said as reported in a news release from the university.

The studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that within 15 years of a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, 60% of participants had at least one diabetes-related complication, and nearly a third of participants had two or more.

“Through this study, we really appreciated that Type 2 diabetes in youth is way more aggressive than the type of diabetes we see in their grandparents,” said Maria “Sukie” Rayas, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at UT Health San Antonio.

“The findings are really astonishing, to think that someone in their mid-20s is already struggling with kidney disease or eye disease or another complication of diabetes,” Rayas said.

The study pointed out the lack of approved medications for children under 18 diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. “We need to expand treatment options and explore medications that we use widely for adults with Type 2 diabetes to see if they are safe and effective for children,” Rayas said.

Study participants were between 10-17 years of age at the time of enrollment, had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the past two years, and were overweight or had obesity. The average age of participants after the follow-up was 26.

They found:

·        67% of participants had high blood pressure.

·         Nearly 52% had dyslipidemia, or high fat levels in the blood.

·         Nearly 55% had kidney disease.

·         32% had evidence of nerve disease.

·         51% had eye disease.

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