Objective: Microvascular complications occur in adolescents with type 1 diabetes, although guidelines vary as to when screening should commence and prevalence data for those with ≤5-yr duration are limited. We therefore investigated trends in prevalence of early microvascular complications over 17 yr.
Research design and methods: 819 adolescents (54% female) aged 11-17 yr with 2- to 5-yr diabetes duration were assessed for complications at a tertiary pediatric diabetes clinic between 1990 and 2006. Early retinopathy was detected using seven-field fundal photography, albumin excretion rate (AER) by timed overnight urine collections and peripheral nerve function by thermal/vibration threshold at the foot. Results were analyzed by age, time period of assessment, and duration.
Results: Early retinopathy declined from 1990 to 2002 (16-7%, p < 0.01), then remained unchanged until 2006. Early elevation of AER (≥7.5 µg/min) and microalbuminuria (≥20 µg/min) did not change over time, whereas peripheral nerve abnormalities increased (14-28%, p < 0.01). Median hemoglobin A1c improved (8.7-8.2%, p < 0.01), in parallel with increased total daily insulin dose and injections per day (p < 0.01). Body mass index standard deviation score increased over time (0.55-0.79, p < 0.01). In multivariate logistic regression, early retinopathy was associated with earlier time period [odds ratio (OR) 0.68, confidence interval (CI) 0.55-0.85, p < 0.01] and older age (OR 1.19, CI 1.02-1.39, p = 0.03). AER ≥ 7.5 µg/min was associated with older age (1.19, 1.06-1.34, p < 0.01) and longer diabetes duration (OR 1.28, CI 1.02-1.62, p = 0.04) and height-adjusted peripheral nerve abnormalities with later time period (OR 1.26, CI 1.05-1.50, p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Early complications are not uncommon in adolescents with 2- to 5-yr diabetes duration, despite more intensive management in recent years.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.