Younger Diabetes Diagnosis Linked to Worse Glycemic Control

Published Online: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
New research suggests that patients who are diagnosed with T2DM when they are younger than 65 years have worse glycemic control than those who are diagnosed at older ages.

The cross-sectional analysis, published in the December 2013 issue of Diabetologia, studied 1438 adults with self-reported T2DM who participated in the 2005-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Patients were categorized as younger than 65 years at diagnosis or as 65 years and older, and blood glucose levels were measured as the primary outcome.

Younger patients were significantly more likely to have poor glycemic control than older patients. Of patients younger than 65 years at diagnosis, 14.4% had glycated hemoglobin (A1C) levels >9% compared with just 2.5% of older patients. Those younger than 65 years at diabetes diagnosis were also more likely to have an A1C >8% and >7% than those older at diagnosis.

The results remained significant even after adjusting for education, income, insurance, duration of diabetes, and other factors. Patients diagnosed with diabetes at younger ages reported fewer comorbidities than their older counterparts but were less likely to report good health.

“Because patients who are younger at diagnosis have fewer competing comorbidities and complications, safe, aggressive, individualized treatment could benefit this higher-risk group,” the authors concluded. 

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