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Diabet Med. 2012 Oct;29(10):1291-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03682.x.

Type 1 diabetes in pre-school children--long-term metabolic control, associated autoimmunity and complications.

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1
Pediatric Endocrine and Diabetes Unit, Safra Children's Hospital, Sheba Medical Center, Raanana, Israel. yael.levy.shraga@gmail.com

Abstract

AIMS:

To identify clinical characteristics and co-morbidity rates of children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes mellitus at younger than 6 years of age.

METHODS:

Data were obtained from a retrospective chart review of 103 patients diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at younger than 6 years (study group) and 220 patients at older than 6 years (comparison group). Measures of glycaemic control and occurrence of co-morbidities (coeliac disease, autoimmune thyroid disease, hypertension, nephropathy and retinopathy) were compared.

RESULTS:

The mean follow-up period was more than 8 years. For the study group, mean HbA(1c) levels ranged from 64 mmol/mol to 66 mmol/mol (8.0-8.2%) until age 10 years, and then rose to 73 mmol/mol (8.8%). The HbA(1c) levels were higher in the study than in the comparison group for comparable ages (P = 0.003). After adjustment for duration of diabetes this difference was not significant. The overall rate of severe hypoglycaemic events was greater in the study group than in the comparison group (P = 0.03). Kaplan-Meier diagnosis rates of celiac disease, 10 years after Type 1 diabetes diagnosis, were 14.4% and 4.2% in the study and comparison groups, respectively (P log-rank = 0.03). There were no differences in rates of autoimmune thyroid disease, hypertension, nephropathy or retinopathy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes before the age of 6 years were in greater risk of developing celiac disease, compared with children diagnosed after the age of 6 years. For children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged under 6 years, good metabolic control was achievable until age 10 years, after which it deteriorated. Higher HbA(1c) levels observed in children diagnosed before the age of 6 years were associated with longer duration of disease.

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