ADA: Childhood hyperglycemia linked to future microvascular complications

Higher blood sugar levels during childhood are associated with increased risk of retinopathy, according to a study presented at the 2023 annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association. Laura Vazquez, from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health in Phoenix, and colleagues used data from a longitudinal observational study of diabetes and its complications (from 1965 to 2007) conducted in an American Indian community to examine the association of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a measure of average blood sugar, and two-hour postload plasma glucose (2-hr PG) (from oral glucose tolerance test) obtained during childhood with future diabetes-related microvascular complications of kidney disease and retinopathy. 

The researchers found that higher HbA1c and 2-hr PG significantly increased the risk of retinopathy in children without type 2 diabetes (T2D) at baseline. Compared to those with prediabetes and normal glucose levels, children with T2D based on baseline HbA1c had the highest incidence of albuminuria (a sign of kidney disease), severe albuminuria, and retinopathy. The incidence of these complications in those with prediabetes was always higher than in those with normal blood sugar among children without T2D at baseline. No significant difference was seen in the ability of HbA1c, 2-hr PG, or fasting PG in predicting future complications. “These findings underscore the value of glycemic screening tests in high-risk children at a time when obesity and diabetes risk factors are disproportionately impacting at-risk communities,” a co-author said in a statement.

Source: Elana Gotkine, Medical Xpress, June 29, 2023; see source article