A simple urine test could be used to identify young people with type 1 diabetes at risk of heart and kidney disease, UK researchers have found.
They measured levels of the protein albumin in the urine of 3,353 adolescents with type 1 diabetes and assessed them for early signs of heart and kidney disease.
Those with albumin levels in the top 30% – but still within the “normal” range – showed more evidence of early kidney and cardiovascular complications than those with lower levels.
Lead author Professor David Dunger, from the University of Cambridge, said the “next step” would be to see if drugs used to treat heart and kidney disease, such as statins, could help prevent complications in young type 1 patients.
The study, funded by Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation, was published in the journal Diabetes Care.
Dr Sanjay Thakrar, a research advisor at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This exciting early finding shows that we could identify those young people with type 1 diabetes who are most at risk of developing coronary heart disease.”
Dr Alasdair Rankin, director of research for Diabetes UK, added: “While it would be a number of years before this became a widely-available treatment option, this does offer real hope of another way to help people with type 1 diabetes have the best possible chance of a long and healthy life.”
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