Type 2 diabetes more aggressive in children than adults

Children with type 2 diabetes are much worse off than adults, a new study reveals.

University of Texas researchers say that kids with the condition are at high risk for heart issues, kidney complications and vision problems – and at a much faster rate than people who develop type 2 diabetes as adults.

Poor results, even with medication

The study included 699 children and adolescents who were divided into three groups: one that received diabetes drug metformin, another that received metformin plus rosiglitazone and a third that received metformin and intensive lifestyle intervention strategies.

While children in the group taking both metformin and rosiglitazone showed the best health outcomes, all of the children "did poorly," a press release on the study stated.

Dr. Jane Lynch, MD, professor of pediatric endocrinology in the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and principle study investigator, said that it was particularly disappointing that even children with the lifestyle interventions didn't show better health outcomes.

Best possible care may not prevent problems

All of the children in the study had to meet certain health standards, like not having high blood pressure, and they received the "Cadillac" treatment for diabetes, Lynch said. Yet the kids kept developing health problems like kidney disease and hypertension.

Deterioration of beta cell function was found to be about four times higher in these children than in adults, which affects the storage and release of insulin.

The authors note that adolescents with type 2 diabetes are already at an age when managing health issues is an inherent challenge.

"In puberty, everyone becomes somewhat insulin-resistant … and when you're insulin-resistant you're hungry, plus when you have diabetes you're thirsty," Lynch said. "This becomes a huge issue when there's the tendency to make poor choices."

The study will continue for several years, as researchers monitor overall health outcomes while the kids grow older.

"Our goal is to follow them for 10 or 15 years as we figure out better ways to prevent this disease and how to predict complications," Lynch said.

The study is published online in Diabetes Care.

Source: Science Daily

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