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Kids With Diabetes Face Heart Risks

92% of Kids With Type 2 Diabetes Have 2 or More Additional Risk Factors for Heart Disease
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 27, 2006 -- Just as in adults, diabetesin children is skyrocketing around the globe, and it is increasingly clear that kids with the disease are at risk for many of the same life-threatening conditions, including heart disease.

In a study funded by the CDC, one in five kids with any diabetes was found to have two or more additional risk factors for premature heart disease.

The figure was closer to nine out of 10 in children with type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity.

Earlier this week it was reported that children with type 2 diabetes also face a higher risk of life-threatening kidney diseaseand early death, compared with people with diabetes diagnosed in adulthood.

The two studies present some of the strongest evidence yet that young age is not protective against the body-ravaging chronic diseases commonly seen in people with diabetes, American Diabetes Association (ADA) president Robert Rizza, MD, tells WebMD.

"Clearly this is not a more benign disease in children," he says. "We are getting a better picture of the great tragedy of diabetes in children and adolescents. They are exposed to the full spectrum of diabetes complications, but [these complications] are occurring in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, instead of later in life."

Even Very Young Had Heart Disease Risk

The new findings, published in the August issue of the ADA journal Diabetes Care, come from an ongoing, multiethnic study examining the long-term impact of childhood diabetes.

The latest analysis included 2,096 children and teens with diabetes from across the U.S., including Hawaii. Three-quarters of the participants were non-Hispanic whites, but children from ethnic groups known to have an elevated diabetes risk were also included, including African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Most of the children were between the ages of 10 and 19, but 466 were younger. Most also had confirmed or suspected type 1 disease, with 160 having confirmed or suspected type 2 diabetes.

Researchers measured the children's waist circumference, as a marker for obesity. They also did blood tests to determine levels of cholesterol and triglycerides(blood fat), and checked blood pressure readings. They found a high prevalence of these risk factors for heart disease, even in children younger than age 10.

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