Predicting kidney disease in diabetics


Insulin resistance is a strong risk factor for kidney complications among people with type 1 diabetes. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been following a group of nearly 500 people with childhood-onset (type I) diabetes. As with type 2 diabetes, which starts later in life, kidney disease is a common complication in those with this condition. It’s always been assumed that the kidney problems are a consequence of high blood sugar over the long-term. But the Pittsburgh team have now shown that it is those diabetics with insulin resistance who are most likely to suffer from kidney disease. They used a novel method to measure insulin resistance – a combination of waist-to-hip ratio, hypertension and long-term blood sugar levels. This correlated well with lab tests for insulin resistance. The good news is that not all type I diabetics are insulin resistant, so they may escape complications. And those who do have insulin resistance can probably improve their condition by exercise, healthy diet and quitting smoking.