According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) news release, the study participants were eight years into their diabetes diagnosis on average.
Nearly 1/3 of participants with Type 1 diabetes and about 3/4 of participants with Type 2 had at least one complication or were at high risk for a complication by age 21. Complications include nerve, kidney and eye diseases, as well as signs of heart disease.
The study was funded by NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it is the largest study on this subject conducted in the U.S.
“There’s often the assumption that young people don’t develop complications from diabetes, but that’s just not true,” Dr. Barbara Linder, a study author and senior adviser for childhood diabetes research within the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, said in the news release.
“We saw that young people with diabetes are developing signs of major complications in the prime of their lives,” she said. “Particularly for youth with Type 2, this research demonstrates the clear need to learn how to reduce or delay the debilitating complications of diabetes, itself a huge challenge for young people to manage.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.