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Early signs of changes in the heart are seen in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, as indicated by the results of a study reported in Diabetes Care (August 2004). The study included 80 participants with diabetes and 52 age-matched participants. Using ultrasound to examine the participants' hearts, the researchers determined that the wall of the left ventricle was thicker in diabetic girls than in the nondiabetic group. Also, the hearts of the diabetic girls showed delayed relaxation between heartbeats.
The results were not the same among boys. The only difference between those with and without diabetes was in the relaxation time. The researchers' theory is that, in children, "perhaps already a small increase in blood glucose is sufficient to initiate changes in the cardiovascular system," thus underscoring the importance of long-term blood sugar control.