To evaluate early stages of atherosclerosis and predisposing factors in type 1 diabetic children and adolescents compared with age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
All children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, aged 8–18 years in Health Region South-East in Norway were invited to participate in the study (n = 800). A total of 40% (n = 314) agreed to participate and were compared with 118 age-matched healthy control subjects. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) and elasticity were measured using standardized methods.
Mean age of the diabetic patients was 13.7 years, mean diabetes duration was 5.5 years, and mean A1C was 8.4%; 97% were using intensive insulin treatment, and 60% were using insulin pumps. Diabetic patients had more frequently elevated cIMT than healthy control subjects: 19.5% were above the 90th centile of healthy control subjects, and 13.1% were above the 95th centile (P < 0.001). Mean cIMT was higher in diabetic boys than in healthy control subjects (0.46 ± 0.06 vs. 0.44 ± 0.05 mm, P = 0.04) but not significantly so in girls. There was no significant difference between the groups regarding carotid distensibility, compliance, or wall stress. None of the subjects had atherosclerotic plaque formation. Although within the normal range, the mean values of systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B were significantly higher in the diabetic patients than in the healthy control subjects.
Despite short disease duration, intensive insulin treatment, fair glycemic control, and no signs of microvascular complications, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes had slightly increased cIMT compared with healthy control subjects, and the differences were more prominent in boys.