With the rise in childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been recognized to occur in adolescents with increasing frequency. Although much is known about T2DM in adults, few studies have examined the treatment and complications of T2DM in youth. The Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY) study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of various treatments and provided a unique opportunity to study the disease progression and appearance of complications in a pediatric cohort with recent onset of the disease. In the TODAY study, hypertension was present in 11.6% of the population at baseline and increased to 33.8% by the end of the study. Prevalence of high-risk LDL-cholesterol rose from 4.5% at baseline to 10.7% at the end of the study. Microalbuminuria was found in 6.3% of the cohort at baseline and increased to 16.6%. Retinopathy was not assessed upon entry into TODAY, but was present in 13.9% of the TODAY cohort at the end of the study. Experience to date indicates that these complications and comorbidities are similar to those seen in adults, but occur on an accelerated timeline. The early manifestation of diabetes complications in youth-onset T2DM suggests that this group will be burdened with the tangible consequences of cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, and retinopathy in the third and fourth decades of life. It is hoped that through an early, aggressive approach to treatment and prevention, we may be able to curb the onset and progression of these potentially devastating outcomes.
Keywords: Cardiovascular risk factors; Complications; Nephropathy; Retinopathy; Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY) study; Type 2 diabetes.
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