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      Screening for Vascular Complications in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes mellitus

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          Type 1 diabetes mellitus poses a significant health burden, particularly as a result of its microvascular complications. Clinically evident diabetes-related microvascular complications are extremely rare in childhood and adolescence. However, early functional and structural abnormalities may be present a few years after the onset of the disease. Therefore, regular screening for diabetic microvascular disease, particularly retinopathy and nephropathy, are of foremost importance in paediatric diabetes care. Early detection of diabetic microangiopathy and timely treatment of early signs of these complications have a pivotal role in prevention of blindness and end-stage renal failure in children and adolescents with diabetes.

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          Diabetic angiopathy in children.

          Among the secondary complications of diabetes, early stages of retinopathy and nephropathy are of foremost importance in paediatrics. Regular examinations of retinal status and of urinary albumin excretion therefore become necessary with the onset of puberty or after 5 years of diabetes duration. With fluorescein angiography, the first retinal changes can be expected after a median diabetes duration of 9 years, while the median time to clinically relevant background retinopathy is 14 years. This diagnosis is delayed by 4 and 6 years, respectively, if retinopathy is staged exclusively by ophthalmoscopy. Approximately 10 to 20% of children may develop microalbuminuria, starting in early puberty. Several risk factors for the development of diabetic angiopathy have been identified. The degree of glycaemic control, both before and after puberty, appears to be of outstanding importance, but the contribution of other factors may be of varying relevance in the individual patient. These include arterial blood pressure, lipid abnormalities, sex steroids, smoking and genetic factors. Apart from the best possible metabolic regulation, early treatment with antihypertensive drugs has been shown to be beneficial in hypertensive adolescents but may also be renoprotective in normotensive adolescents with permanent microalbuminuria. However, the relatively high prevalence of intermittent and transient microalbuminuria in paediatric patients (2 and 3% respectively), with unknown prognostic relevance, complicate the decision to start such treatment for a lifetime. Nevertheless, the early detection of risk factors and the implementation of appropriate intervention strategies are necessary to improve the long-term prognosis for children with diabetes.
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            Progression of borderline increases in albuminuria in adolescents with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

            We aimed to determine the natural history of borderline increases in albuminuria in adolescents with insulin-dependent (Type 1) diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and factors which are associated with progression to persistent microalbuminura. Fifty-five normotensive adolescents with IDDM and intermittent microalbuminura (overnight albumin excretion ratte of 20-200 micrograms min-1 on one of three consecutive timed collections, n = 29) or borderline albuminura (mean overnight albumin excretion rate of 7.2-20 micrograms min-1 on one of three consecutive timed collections, n = 30) were followed prospectively at 3 monthly intervals. The endpoint was persistent microalbuminuria defined as a minimum of three of four consecutive overnight albumin excretion rates of greater than 20 micrograms min-1. One hundred and forty-two adolescents with IDDM and normoalbuminura were also followed prospectively. Fifteen of the 59 patients (25.4%) with intermittent (9/29) or borderline (6/30) albuminura progressed to persistent microalbuminura (progressors) over 28 (15-50) months [median (range)] in comparison with two of the 142 patients with normoalbuminuria at entry (relative risk = 12.6; p = 0.001). Progressors to persistent microalbuminura were pubertal and had higher systolic (p = 0.02) and diastolic (p = 0.02) blood pressure, and HbA1c (p = 0.004) than non-progressors. All patients remained normotensive. Glomerular filtration rate, apolipoproteins, dietary phosphorus, protein and sodium intakes, and prevalence of smoking did not differ between progressors and non-progressors. Total renin was higher in the diabetic patients without a difference between progressors and non-progressors. In conclusion there is a relatively high rate of progression to persistent microalbuminuria in pubertal adolescents with borderline increases in albuminura and duration greater than 3 years. These patients require attention to minimize associated factors of poor metabolic control and higher blood pressure in the development of incipient nephropathy.

              Author and article information

              Horm Res Paediatr
              Hormone Research in Paediatrics
              S. Karger AG
              17 November 2004
              : 57
              : Suppl 1
              : 113-116
              Department of Pediatrics, University of Chieti, Italy
              53329 Horm Res 2002;57(suppl 1):113–116
              © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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              Tables: 1, References: 12, Pages: 4
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