, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 365-375
Date: 19 Aug 2010

Microvascular disease in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes and obesity

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Abstract

The incidence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is increasing worldwide and is associated with a significant burden, mainly related to the development of vascular complications. Over the last decades, concomitant with the epidemic of childhood obesity, there has been an increasing number of cases of type 2 diabetes (T2D) among children and adolescents. Microvascular complications of diabetes, which include nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathy, are characterized by damage to the microvasculature of the kidney, retina and neurons. Although clinically evident microvascular complications are rarely seen among children and adolescents with diabetes, there is clear evidence that their pathogenesis and early signs develop during childhood and accelerate during puberty. Diabetic vascular complications are often asymptomatic during their early stages, and once symptoms develop, there is little to be done to cure them. Therefore, screening needs to be started early during adolescence and, in the case of T2D, already at diagnosis. Identification of risk factors and subclinical signs of complications is essential for the early implementation of preventive and therapeutic strategies, which could change the course of vascular complications and improve the prognosis of children, adolescents and young adults with diabetes.