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05-07-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Teenage girls with Type 1 diabetes have poor cardiovascular risk profile


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MedWire News: Research presented at the American Diabetes Association 71st Scientific Sessions in San Diego, USA, suggests that teenage girls with Type 1 diabetes have a significantly worse cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk profile than similarly aged boys with the condition.

New evidence suggests that many teenagers with Type 1 diabetes have significantly poorer cardiovascular risk profiles compared with their nondiabetic peers, indicating that they might be at risk for early CVD events if left untreated.

Talia Brown (Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Aurora, Colorado, USA) reported data from a study of 402 girls and boys, aged 15 years on average, 302 of whom had Type 1 diabetes.

The researchers measured glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, systolic blood pressure (SBP), body mass index (BMI), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in all the study participants.

The results showed that, while boys with Type 1 diabetes (n=152) had a similar cardiovascular risk factor profile to their nondiabetic peers, girls with Type 1 diabetes (n=150) had a significantly worse profile than similarly aged nondiabetic girls.

Specifically, girls with Type 1 diabetes had LDL cholesterol, SBP, BMI, and CRP levels of 95 mg/dl, 111 mmHg, 23.6 kg/m2, and 0.86 mg/dl, respectively, compared with corresponding values of 80 mg/dl, 106 mmHg, 22.1 kg/m2, and 0.15 mg/dl in nondiabetic girls. They also had poor glycemic control, with a mean HbA1c of 9.1%.

In the nondiabetic population, premenopausal women seem to experience a "protective" effect against CVD and have a significantly better cardiovascular risk profile compared with men of the same age.

However, women with Type 1 diabetes are known to have a four-fold greater risk for CVD compared with their nondiabetic peers. Furthermore, they do not appear to experience the protective effect that most premenopausal women do.

Brown and team suggest that the adverse profile observed in girls with Type 1 diabetes might, at least, partly explain the increased CVD risk seen in these women.

They say that their research indicates that adolescence might be a key period to begin CVD prevention in girls with Type 1 diabetes, for example, by emphasizing the importance of a healthy diet and physical exercise and, if necessary, treating high blood pressure and cholesterol with the appropriate medications.

"Future studies should further investigate factors contributing to gender differences," suggested Brown.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert

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