Researchers identify risks for kidney disease and death among type 1 diabetics

Individuals who have type 1 diabetes often develop kidney disease at some point in their lives. Additionally, these patients tend to die at an early age. However, the two problems have a range of causes, and identifying specific risk factors has been difficult.

However, a team of researchers from Finland believes they have found a list of risk factors that accurately predict the chances that a person with type 1 diabetes will either develop end stage renal disease or die at a young age. They reported their findings in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

For the study, the researchers followed the medical records of 592 patients for a period of 10 years. During this time, they took a variety of measurements from the participants.

They found that male patients who had higher HbA1c scores, elevated cholesterol levels and higher weight-adjusted insulin doses were more likely to develop kidney disease. However, older patients who had had type 1 diabetes for the longest period of time, had higher cholesterol levels and had arterial disease were more likely to die prematurely.

The researchers said that their findings could provide valuable tools to doctors treating patients with type 1 diabetes. It could allow them to diagnose which of their patients are at the greatest risk for each of the complications, enabling them to recommend lifestyle changes.

"This kind of novel statistical approach has the potential to shed new light on the targets and strategies for preventing premature mortality in patients with type 1 diabetes," said Dr. Carol Forsblom, who led the investigation.

She added that, given the fact that elevated cholesterol was the only risk factor that emerged for both conditions, doctors and individuals with type 1 diabetes should focus on controlling this.