A study from the Joint Asia Diabetes Evaluation shows that the age when a person is diagnosed with type 2 may have an effect on the complications that person later experiences. Interestingly, the study suggests a reason for the likelihood of more complications despite being younger is tied into the use of statins.
The study divides type 2 patients into “young onset”—people who are diagnosed by age 40—and “late onset”—people who are diagnosed at age 41 or later. It found that young onset people are more likely to develop complications for several reasons:
1. Unlike late onset patients, they have higher A1c’s upon diagnosis and are less likely than their older counterparts to achieve A1c’s of less than 7%
2. Their LDL levels are higher at diagnosis than the older group
3. The young onset group is more prone to developing diabetic retinopathy
Researchers said young onset type 2s may be at risk of more complications from diabetes because they typically do not receive statin therapy. Older diabetic patients, because of concerns with cholesterol levels that can increase an already higher risk of heart disease, often are on statin therapy.
While the mechanism whereby statins decrease the risk of diabetic complications is not well understood, the JADE researchers recommended that young onset diabetes patients also be put on statin therapy.
The study also found that the differences between young and late onset patients in risks for complications held up across the nine Asian locales studied (China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam).
The study is available online: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/landia/article/PIIS2213-8587(14)70137-8/fulltext