Fasting glucose level, waist circumference and age at diabetes diagnosis are factors that help predict who will develop diabetes complications, according to a new study published in the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.
Researchers looked at a diverse, multiethnic group of 1,587 participants in a study called the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, all of whom had diabetes. Participants were divided into eight different groups, based on three factors that divided participants into two categories each. The first factor was age at diabetes diagnosis, with participants divided based on an age of 45 or younger, or older than 45 years old. The second factor was fasting glucose level, with participants divided based on a measurement of 140 mg/dl or higher, or below this level. And the third factor was waist circumference, with women divided based on a measurement of 105 centimeters (41.3 inches) or greater, or below this level, and men divided based on a measurement of 110 centimeters (43.3 inches) or greater, or below this level.
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Factors related to risk of diabetes complications
The researchers were interested in how each of these factors — age at diagnosis, fasting glucose level and waist circumference — was related to outcomes including death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, dementia and diabetic retinopathy (eye disease) during a follow-up period of about 17 years. In calculating how these factors were related to outcomes, the researchers adjusted for demographic differences (like age or race), known behavioral differences, and known differences in clinical risk factors (such as other health conditions).
The researchers found that the group of participants with both an early age at diabetes diagnosis and high fasting glucose experienced a higher risk of death, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and retinopathy. The group with both an early age at diagnosis and a high waist circumference experienced a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and retinopathy. The group that had all three higher risk factors — early age at diagnosis, high fasting glucose and high waist circumference — experienced a higher risk of death, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and retinopathy.
The researchers noted that these results reinforce the importance of assessing the risk for complications among people with diabetes based on their age at diagnosis, fasting glucose level and waist circumference — as well as the importance of using these findings to communicate with patients and to develop a strategy for preventing diabetes complications.
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