A simple urine test can
help identify kids with type 1 diabetes who are at risk for heart and kidney
disease and would benefit from early treatment to prevent these serious health
problems, a new study suggests.
It is estimated that up to
40% of young people with type 1 diabetes may have an increased risk of
developing kidney disease, which also raises their risk of heart disease,
researchers at the University of Cambridge, in England, said in a university
In type 1 diabetes, the
body does not produce insulin, a hormone that converts sugars and other food
into energy for the body.
The researchers examined
the link between levels of albumin (a protein found in blood) in the urine of
older children with type 1 diabetes and the risk of heart and kidney diseases.
Elevated albumin levels in
the urine are used to identify adults with diabetes who are at higher risk of
kidney and heart disease, the researchers said, but this is the first study to
show that normal variation in these levels can be a sign of increased risk in
youngsters with type 1 diabetes.
What did the study say?
The researchers measured
albumin levels in the urine of more than 3 300 diabetes patients aged 10 to 16,
and also checked them for early signs of kidney and heart disease.
Those whose urinary albumin
levels were in the top 30% -- but still within what is considered the normal
range -- had more evidence of early kidney and heart disease than those with
lower levels, according to the study, which was published Nov. 6 in the journal
"Managing type 1
diabetes is difficult enough without having to deal with other health
problems," study lead author David Dunger, of the University of Cambridge,
said in the news release. "By using early screening, we can now identify
young people at risk of heart and kidney disease."
"The next step will be
to see if drugs used to treat heart and kidney disease -- such as statins and
blood-pressure-lowering drugs -- can help prevent kidney and heart
complications in this young, potentially vulnerable population," he said.
Worldwide, more than 490
000 kids aged 14 and younger have type 1 diabetes.
The Nemours Foundation has
more about type