Obesity is associated with retinopathy and macrovascular disease in type 1 diabetes

Obes Res Clin Pract. Mar-Apr 2014;8(2):e178-82. doi: 10.1016/j.orcp.2013.03.007.


Excessive body weight is increasingly seen in type 1 diabetes but its impact is debated. To address this uncertainty, we aimed to determine the association between excess body weight and the macro- and microvascular complications of type 1 diabetes. We identified 501 adults with type 1 diabetes attending an Australian hospital clinic and extracted their clinical and biochemical data from our patient management database. In both men and women, obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m(2)) was the predominant risk factor for retinopathy and cardiovascular disease despite similar HbA1c and increased use of cardioprotective drugs compared to non-obese patients. Obesity was associated with albuminuria in women, but not renal impairment or neuropathy in either sex. We conclude that obesity in type 1 diabetes may promote retinopathy and macrovascular disease. Future trials to determine the effect of weight loss on type 1 diabetes in obese people are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuminuria / etiology*
  • Australia
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / blood
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / blood
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / etiology*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss*


  • Biomarkers
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human