Children and adolescents with insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes, particularly girls, show early signs of changes in the heart, a research team in Belgium has found.
Children and adolescents with insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes, particularly girls, show early signs of changes in the heart, a research team in Belgium has found.Dr. Bert E. Suys at University Hospital of Antwerp and collegaues used ultrasound to examine the hearts of 80 young people with diabetes and 52 age-matched control subjects. .As reported in the medical journal Diabetes Care, the wall of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, was thicker in girls with diabetes than in the non-diabetic group. The hearts of diabetic girls also showed delayed relaxation between heartbeats.For boys, the only difference between those with and without diabetes was in the relaxation time.Suys and his associates theorize that, in children, “perhaps already a small increase in blood glucose is sufficient to initiate changes in the cardiovascular system,” thus underscoring the importance of long-term blood sugar control.Patients with diabetes may benefit from drugs like ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers that are used to treat heart failure, the researchers add, but only further research will clarify this issue.(Source: Reuters, Diabetes Care, July 2004)