Tags: Early | Diabetes | More | Likely | Worsen

Early Diabetes More Likely to Worsen

Monday, 18 September 2006 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- People who develop type 2 diabetes when they're younger than 50 years of age are more likely to experience a worsening of their disease than those diagnosed at an older age, according to research presented in Copenhagen Friday at the 42nd annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Dr. Targ Elgzyri from Lund University, Malmo, Sweden, who presented the data, told Reuters Health: "The idea of the study came when we found, as previously shown, a progressive rise in HbA1c over time in newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes despite different modes of therapy."

Unlike testing blood sugar levels, which gives a short-term picture of diabetes control, measuring blood levels of HbA1c, a biological marker for the disease, gives an idea of how well diabetes has been controlled over several months. Rising HbA1c levels, despite the use of different blood sugar-lowering drugs, suggests that the diabetes is getting worse.

With the current study, Elgzyri and colleagues looked for non-genetic factors that influence a continuous rise in HbA1c. The researchers followed more than 1,200 patients with type 2 diabetes for 7 years after their diagnosis.

HbA1c improved at 1 year following diagnosis, declining from 7.6 to 6.3 percent. During the subsequent 6 years, however, HbA1c increased from 6.3 to 7.0 percent, as expected.

The patients required insulin therapy after an average of 2.5 years, Elgzyri and colleagues report in a meeting abstract. After 7 years, 47 percent of study subjects were on insulin therapy.

"Among non-genetic factors studied, age at diagnosis showed a significant influence on HbA1c change over time," Elgzyri said.

Specifically, patients younger than 50 years at type 2 diabetes diagnosis experienced a steeper increase in HbA1c than did those 50 years of age or older at diagnosis.

The rise in HbA1c concentrations in subjects diagnosed before the age of 50 was related to an impaired ability of pancreas cells to produce insulin, the hormone that allows sugar to enter the body's cells and fuel the body's energy needs.

In a follow-up study, Elgzyri's group plans to test whether genetic factors can modify these relationships.

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NEW YORK -- People who develop type 2 diabetes when they're younger than 50 years of age are more likely to experience a worsening of their disease than those diagnosed at an older age, according to research presented in Copenhagen Friday at the 42nd annual meeting of the...
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Monday, 18 September 2006 12:00 AM
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