PHILADELPHIA, June 23By the time they reach their teen years, those with type 1 diabetes already have significantly more risk of atherosclerosisor plaque buildup in their arteriesthan their peers, according to a study released this weekend by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Researchers presented the pilot study at the American Diabetes Associations 61st Annual Scientific Sessions.
Atherosclerosis is a critical health issue in the United States, accounting for more than 1.5 million heart attacks and 600,000 strokes every year. And its particularly important for people with diabetes, who are especially susceptible to cardiovascular problems. The team of researchers sought to determine whether teen-agers and young adults with type 1 diabetes faced increased risk of atherosclerosis, and if so, which factors seemed to put them more at risk. They compared 57 adolescents between ages 12 and 21 with insulin-dependent diabetes to a group of age- and gender-matched young adults without diabetes, running blood tests and measuring the thickness of their neck arteries through ultrasound. Researchers found that the intima-media thickness (IMT)a measure of the innermost layer of the artery wallwas significantly greater in the teens with diabetes.
They also found that those with greater IMT tended to have high levels of certain lipids in the blood: apolipoprotein B (apoB), a structural component of cholesterol; low-density lipoprotein (or LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol); and lipoprotein a (or Lp a, a sort of fat cousin to LDL).
They also had higher-than-average levels of homocysteine, an amino acid suspected of contributing to atherosclerosis. Those with greater IMT also were more likely to be male.
Factors not found related to IM
Contact: Jon Weiner
University of Southern California