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Diabet Med. 2012 Apr;29(4):453-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03542.x.

Estimated morbidity and mortality in adolescents and young adults diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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Division of Endocrinology, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



To estimate remaining life expectancy (RLE), quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), causes of death and lifetime cumulative incidence of microvascular/macrovascular complications of diabetes for youths diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.


A Markov-like computer model simulated the life course for a hypothetical cohort of adolescents/young adults in the USA, aged 15-24 years, newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes following either conventional or intensive treatment based on the UK Prospective Diabetes Study. Outcomes included RLE, discounted QALE in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), cumulative incidence of microvascular/macrovascular complications and causes of death.


Compared with a mean RLE of 58.6 years for a 20-year-old in the USA without diabetes, conventional treatment produced an average RLE of 43.09 years and 22.44 discounted QALYs. Intensive treatment afforded an incremental 0.98 years and 0.44 discounted QALYs. Intensive treatment led to lower lifetime cumulative incidence of all microvascular complications and lower mortality from microvascular complications (e.g. end-stage renal disease (ESRD) death 19.4% vs. 25.2%). Approximately 5% with both treatments had ESRD within 25 years. Lifetime cumulative incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) increased with longer RLE and greater severity of CHD risk factors. Incorporating disutility (loss in health-related quality of life) of intensive treatment resulted in net loss of QALYs.


Adolescents/young adults with Type 2 diabetes lose approximately 15 years from average RLE and may experience severe, chronic complications of Type 2 diabetes by their 40s. The net clinical benefit of intensive treatment may be sensitive to preferences for treatment. A comprehensive management plan that includes early and aggressive control of cardiovascular risk factors is likely needed to reduce lifetime risk of CHD.

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