New findings have prompted researchers to suggest that patients with earlier-onset type 1 diabetes (T1D) be offered cardioprotective medications sooner than is currently practised, in addition to increased efforts towards smoking cessation and improved glycaemia control.
The study, published in The Lancet, examined data on 27,195 individuals with T1D from the Swedish National Diabetes Register and 135,178 matched controls.
It found cardiovascular risks and survival were strongly related to age at disease onset. A diagnosis of T1D before 10 years of age resulted in a loss of 16 life years, while a diagnosis at age 26–30 years was associated with around 10 years of life lost. Those with disease onset before 10 years also had an approximately five-times greater risk of coronary heart disease and acute myocardial infarction than those diagnosed at age 26-30 years. Excess risks were generally greater in women than in men.
“Although the relative risk of cardiovascular disease is increased after an early diabetes diagnosis, the absolute risk is low," said co-author, Dr Araz Rawshani from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. “However, age at disease onset appears to be an important determinant of survival as well as cardiovascular outcomes in early adulthood, warranting consideration of earlier treatment with cardioprotective drugs.”