Diabetic microvascular complications--can the presence of one predict the development of another?

J Diabetes Complications. Jul-Aug 2006;20(4):228-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2006.03.001.


The number of people with diabetes is increasing dramatically worldwide. The rising prevalence of obesity in childhood and adolescence has also been linked to a startling increase in the number of diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes in these younger age groups. Despite the introduction of treatment strategies, diabetes remains a major cause of new-onset blindness, end-stage renal disease, and lower leg amputation, all of which contribute to the excess morbidity and mortality in people with diabetes. Furthermore, the management of diabetes-related complications generates substantial costs. In order that timely treatment can be given, it is essential that patients at risk for the development of diabetic microvascular complications are identified earlier. Diabetes duration and glycemic, blood pressure, and lipid control have consistently been shown to correlate with diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy, but to date, the relationship of one diabetic microvascular complication to another has not been clearly described. A review of the literature has raised the question that apart from other known risk factors, there is a possible relationship among the diabetic microvascular complications themselves, and this appears to be much stronger than the sparse published data on it would suggest. A scoring system that can predict the development of diabetic microvascular complications may facilitate the early identification of those patients at risk and, consequently, have a positive impact on patients' quality of life and reduce the economic burden of diabetes and its complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index