Young People with Type 1 Diabetes at Risk for Heart Disease

Friday, June 24, 2011

Adolescents and young adults with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes have thicker and stiffer carotid arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke in adults.

The research is believed to be the first to examine whether type 1 diabetes has a measurable effect on carotid arteries in this age group. Elaine Urbina, MD, a cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, will present the research at 8:45 a.m. Pacific time Monday, June 27 at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

“We have new tools for early identification of cardiac and arterial problems in people with type 1 diabetes,” says Dr. Urbina. “This means we can intensify therapy to improve glycemic control and reduce cardiovascular risk factors, especially obesity, thereby improving cardiovascular outcomes in people with type 1 diabetes.”

The researchers studied 162 people between the ages of 17 and 23. Seventy-eight percent had type 1 diabetes. After adjusting for age, race, sex and lipids, people with type 1 diabetes had both thicker and stiffer carotids than the control group.

The research is part of The SEARCH CVD Study, a collaborative effort between investigators at the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Public Health and Cincinnati Children’s. Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Colorado, is principal investigator of SEARCH CVD.

“We hope that the knowledge provided by SEARCH CVD will translate into better quality of care and better quality of life for youth with type 1 diabetes and will reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in this patient population,” states Dr. Dabelea.

SEARCH CVD (RO1DK078542) is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is an ancillary study of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, a multi-center study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The Colorado School of Public Health is the first and only accredited school of public health in the Rocky Mountain Region, attracting top tier faculty and students from across the country, and providing a vital contribution towards ensuring our region’s health and well-being. Collaboratively formed by the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Northern Colorado, the Colorado School of Public Health provides training, innovative research and community service to actively address public health issues, including chronic disease, access to health care, environmental threats, emerging infectious diseases, and costly injuries.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report's 2011 Best Children's Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for gastroenterology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties - a distinction shared by only two other pediatric hospitals in the United States. Cincinnati Children's is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at

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Jim Feuer