In a study from Inha University, scientists found that men and women who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes aged 40 or younger are far more likely to develop heart disease and die early than those under 40 with no diabetes.
The team compared over 634,000 people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes with over 1.2 million people with no diabetes over an average of 6 years.
They found that people with early-onset diabetes (aged 40 or younger) were five times more likely to develop heart disease, seven times more likely to be hospitalized with heart failure, and at least five times as likely to die from CVD or from any cause.
These findings clearly highlight the serious health implications of developing type 2 diabetes at a young age and the importance of efforts to prevent diabetes in early life.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and usually occurs in middle-aged and older people.
However, onset in young adults is becoming more common globally and is typically a more aggressive form that leads to earlier development of complications and higher rates of hospitalizations.
The team says caring for young people with diabetes, which has traditionally focused on type 1 diabetes, should place more emphasis on type 2 diabetes.
What’s more, effective healthcare policies around screening, early diagnosis, and treatment will help to combat the future rise of cardiovascular disease in this increasingly common young-onset, high-risk population.
The authors point out that although their study was large, it was observational; they cannot rule out the possibility that other unmeasured factors and uncontrolled confounding factors may have affected the results.
They also note that the study is limited by a relatively short follow-up and its use of a dataset from South Korea, limiting the generalizability to other populations.
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The study was done by Dr. Da Hea Seo et al and presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting.
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