Australian researchers compared the health of individuals who developed type 2 diabetes (T2DM)at a relatively young age with that of people who had developed type 1 (T1DM) diabetes at a similar age. Dr. Jencia Wong of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney and the University of Sydney Medical School and colleagues, examined the hospital s records between 1986 and 2011. They matched those records with the Australian National Death Index to determine the mortality for subjects with one of the two types of diabetes, and also examined their health records. Their report was published in the journal Diabetes Care.
People with T1DM have lost the ability to produce insulin, the hormone that allows body cells to take up glucose from the blood and use it for myriad body processes. In contrast, people with T2DM do produce insulin, but it is not effective their cells are resistant to insulin s action. The result is the same without insulin s action glucose remains in the blood and can rise to dangerous levels. Long term, if the disease is not well controlled, people with either type of diabetes can suffer from damage to both small and large blood vessels and to nerves, and have increased risk of cardiovascular disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
The researchers followed 354 people with T2DM for on average 21 years and 470 people with T1DM for about 23 years, both of which groups were between 15 and 30 years old when their diseases began. They found there was a significantly increased mortality rate for the group with T2DM, and that those individuals died after a shorter disease duration than the people with T1DM.
Those with T2DM also suffered significantly more deaths from cardiovascular events (e.g., heart attacks and strokes). Further, large blood vessel disease and nerve damage indices were also significantly increased in the group with T2DM, even though the control of blood glucose in both groups was similar.
The authors concluded Young-onset T2DM is the more lethal [type] of diabetes and is associated with a greater mortality, more diabetes complications, and unfavorable cardiovascular disease risk factors when compared with T1DM.
ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava noted Since T2DM is strongly correlated with obesity, the results of this study should impel us to place more emphasis on preventing and treating childhood obesity to prevent the early onset of T2 diabetes and its complications.