Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 129–134 | Cite as

Microvascular diabetes complications in a specialist young adult diabetes service

  • Audrey MelvinEmail author
  • Lynn Redahan
  • Mensud Hatunic
  • Siobhán E McQuaid
Original Article


Background and aims

The provision of medical care to young adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus is challenging. The aim of this study was to determine the rates of microvascular complications and their progression among patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus attending a specialist young adult diabetes service in Ireland.


A retrospective review of 62 (male 56.5%) patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus attending the young adult diabetes service at our institution was undertaken. Data was recorded across two time points, clinic registration and at 5 years following initial contact.


The mean ± SD age at first attendance was 17.4 ± 2.0 years. Mean ± SD duration of diabetes was 6.3 ± 3.9 years with most patients treated using multiple daily insulin injections (75.8%). diabetic retinopathy rate at first attendance was 17.7% and after 5 years was 37.1% (p = 0.003). The majority of cases were background retinopathy. The prevalence of diabetic kidney disease was 6.4% and this remained unchanged at follow-up. Mean ± SD HbA1c improved from 76.1 ± 22.4 mmol/mol (9.1 ± 4.2%) to 69.1 ± 14.9 mmol/mol (8.5 ± 3.5%), p = 0.044. Duration of diabetes was the only clinical variable associated with retinopathy risk at 5 years on multiple regression analysis (p = 0.037).


Diabetic retinopathy is prevalent in young adults with type 1 diabetes attending specialist secondary care diabetes services. Duration of diabetes was the strongest determinant of retinopathy risk.


Complications Nephropathy Retinopathy Type 1 diabetes 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Diabetes and EndocrinologyMater Misericordiae University Hospital and University College DublinDublinIreland

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