, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 363-370

Prognosis of diabetics with diabetes onset before the age of thirtyone

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Summary

A follow-up on three hundred and seven patients diagnosed before 1933 and before the patient was thirty-one years old was conducted as of 1.1.1973, i.e. after at least forty years of diabetes. All patients were seen at the Steno Memorial hospital and were referred from all parts of Denmark. A small proportion of the patients (5.9%) could not be traced. Of the remaining two hundred and eightynine patients 40% were alive. Three-hundred and six patients were insulin dependent, 87% being treated with insulin twice daily. More than 50% survived their diabetes for more than thirty-five years. The mortality rate was 2–6 times that in an age- and sexmatched non-diabetic population. In 31% of the deceased patients the cause of death was uraemia; in 25% myocardial infarction. The excess mortality among patients exhibiting persistent proteinuria before forty years of diabetes was 3–4 times higher than in patients who did not have proteinuria after forty years.

16% of the whole study population became blind, and another 14% had severely impaired vision; 21% exhibited objective signs of myocardial infarction, 10% of stroke, and 12% had gangrene or had undergone amputation of the foot or lower leg; 38% had proteinuria and 22% uraemia. Death with or from hypoglycaemia was more common than death in ketoacidotic coma. Clinical manifestations of late diabetic complications were considerably less common in patients who were still alive after more than forty years of diabetes than in patients who died before their fortieth year of diabetes.