Kids with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of developing at least three serious problems faster and at a higher rate than individuals who acquire type 2 diabetes as adults, a new study has revealed.
The research, published online in Diabetes Care, found that children and teenagers who develop type 2 diabetes face a greater risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy) and eye problems, including diabetic retinopathy, compared to adult patients.
Professor Jane Lynch, of the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center, and colleagues analysed data from 699 children and adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes . The participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: metformin, metformin plus rosiglitazone (Avandia), or metformin plus intensive lifestyle instruction.
The researchers found that over a third of the participants required medication for hypertension or kidney disease 3.9 years after they joined the study.
While children on the combined drugs did the best of the three groups, Dr. Lynch said, all the participants did poorly. For example, function of insulin-producing beta cells deteriorated nearly four times faster per year on average than it does in adults.
The results also showed that despite the interventions in all three treatment groups, the participants’ health continued to worsen. Both boys and girls developed kidney disease at about the same rates, but obese males were some 81% more likely to develop hypertension.
Dr. Lynch said the the participants’ overall outcomes, including cardiac health, will continued to be monitored, adding that the goal of the study is to “follow them for 10 or 15 years as we figure out better ways to prevent this disease and how to predict complications”.

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