March 2018, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 599–606 Diabetologia
Short-term progression of cardiometabolic risk factors in relation to age at type 2 diabetes diagnosis: a longitudinal observational study of 100,606 individuals from the Swedish National Diabetes Register
Andri O. Steinarsson, Araz Rawshani, Soffia Gudbjörnsdottir, Stefan Franzén, Ann-Marie SvenssonSattarEmail author
The reasons underlying a greater association of premature mortality with early-onset type 2 diabetes relative to late-onset disease are unclear. We evaluated the clinical characteristics at type 2 diabetes diagnosis and the broad trajectories in cardiometabolic risk factors over the initial years following diagnosis in relation to age at diagnosis.
Our cohort consisted of 100,606 individuals with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes enrolled in the Swedish National Diabetes Register from 2002 to 2012. The average follow-up time was 2.8 years. Analyses were performed using a linear mixed-effects model for continuous risk factors and a mixed generalised linear model with a logistic link function for dichotomous risk factors.
The individuals diagnosed at the youngest age (18–44 years) were more often male and had the highest BMI (mean of 33.4 kg/m2) at diagnosis and during follow-up compared with all other groups (those diagnosed at 45–59 years, 60–74 years and ≥75 years; p < 0.05), being ~5 kg/m2higher than the oldest group. Although HbA1c patterns were similar between all age groups, there was a difference of about 5 mmol/mol (0.45%) between the two groups at 8 years post-diagnosis (p < 0.05).
Additionally, individuals diagnosed younger had ~0.7 mmol/l higher triacylglycerol, and ~0.2 mmol/l lower HDL-cholesterol levels at diagnosis relative to the oldest group. Such differences continued for several years post diagnosis. Yet, although more of these younger individuals were receiving oral glucose-lowering agents, other cardioprotective therapies were prescribed less often in this group.
Differences in BMI, blood glucose and lipid levels remained with adjustment for potential confounders, including marital status, education and country of birth, and, where relevant, differential treatments by age, and in those with at least 5 years of follow-up.
Individuals who develop type 2 diabetes at a younger age are more frequently obese, display a more adverse lipid profile, have higher HbA1c and a faster deterioration in glycaemic control compared with individuals who develop diabetes later in life. These differences largely remain for several years after diagnosis and support the notion that early-onset type 2 diabetes may be a more pathogenic condition than late-onset disease.
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