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J Diabetes Complications. 1997 Nov-Dec;11(6):352-7.

Predictors of renal and cardiovascular mortality in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes: a brief overview of microalbuminuria and insulin resistance.

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  • 1Rush University Hypertension Center, Department of Preventive Medicine, Rush Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Both microalbuminuria and insulin resistance are present at some stage in the natural history of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Microalbuminuria predicts both progression to endstage renal disease and an increase in cardiovascular mortality compared to diabetic patients without microalbuminuria. Conversely, microalbuminuria is not a strong predictor of either renal or cardiovascular mortality in hypertensive nondiabetic subjects. This difference in risk may relate to the presence of glycated albumin in patients with diabetes. Glycation of albumin occurs because of persistent hyperglycemia. Glycated albumin is directly toxic to both renal and vascular tissue through stimulation of reactive oxygen species by both renal and immune protective cells. Blunting the rise in microalbuminuria with either aggressive blood glucose control or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition, early in the course of the disease, markedly reduces renal mortality. In contrast to microalbuminuria, which is a reflection of renal injury, insulin resistance is a genetically determined problem that directly relates to peripheral glucose utilization. In most cases, insulin resistance is phenotypically expressed as diabetes as a result of environmental factors such as obesity. Insulin resistance is associated with an increased risk for development of both hypertension and NIDDM as well as atherosclerosis. Diabetic or hypertensive subjects with insulin resistance have an increased risk of cardiovascular but not renal mortality. Sustained weight loss is the best way to reduce insulin resistance and arterial pressure. Additionally, alpha blockers, more than other antihypertensive agents reduce insulin resistance. This class of drugs, however, has not been shown to reduce either microalbuminuria or overall cardio-renal mortality.

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