Children with type 2 diabetes are at high risk for developing heart, kidney, and eye problems faster and at a higher rate than adults with the metabolic disorder, a new study finds.
The research, conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, suggests more needs to be done to prevent — and identify — diabetes in children to head off bigger problems down the road.
"It's a public health issue," said lead researcher Jane Lynch, M.D. "Once these kids have type 2 diabetes, they seem to be at very high risk for early complications when compared to adults."
The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, are based on study involved 699 children and young people. More than a third of the participants required medication for hypertension or kidney disease about four years after they had joined the study. Researchers divided the participants into three groups that received the diabetes medication metformin, metformin plus rosiglitazone, or metformin plus intensive lifestyle intervention.
The results showed that children on the combined drugs did the best of the three groups, but all did poorly and kept getting sicker over time. The researchers were particularly disappointed that the intensive lifestyle intervention group did not do better.
Boys and girls both developed kidney disease at about the same rates, but obese teenage boys were 81 percent more likely to develop hypertension, Dr. Lynch said.
"What's especially challenging for these children is that many also develop fatty liver, which limits our use of the drugs that control hypertension," she added.
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