Which factors are indicators of poorer prognosis in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM)?

Updated: Oct 08, 2021
  • Author: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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Answer

Control of blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), lipids, blood pressure, and weight significantly affects prognosis. Excess weight gain with intensified diabetes treatment is associated with hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and extetnsive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. [75]

Patients with diabetes face a lifelong challenge to achieve and maintain blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible. With appropriate glycemic control, the risk of both microvascular and neuropathic complications is decreased markedly. In addition, aggressive treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia decreases the risk of macrovascular complications.

A study by Zheng et al indicated that HbA1c levels in persons with diabetes are longitudinally associated with long-term cognitive decline, as found using a mean 4.9 cognitive assessments of diabetes patients over a mean 8.1-year follow-up period. The investigators saw a significant link between each 1 mmol/mol rise in HbA1c and an increased rate of decline in z scores for global cognition, memory, and executive function. Patients in the study had a mean age of 65.6 years. The report cited a need for research into whether optimal glucose control in people with diabetes can affect their cognitive decline rate. [77, 78]

A study indicated that children with type 1 DM who have an HbA1c level of 9% or above are at greater risk of mortality, intubation, and sepsis due to COVID-19 than are children without type 1 DM. However, the report also found evidence that such risk is not greater in children with an HbA1c level at or below 7%. The investigators found the COVID-19 mortality rates in children without type 1 DM, those with type 1 DM, and those with type 1 DM with an HbA1c of 7% or lower to be 0.047%, 0.328%, and 0%, respectively. [76]

The benefits of glycemic control and control of comorbidities in type 1 DM must be weighed against the risk of hypoglycemia and the short-term costs of providing high-quality preventive care. However, studies have shown cost savings due to a reduction in acute diabetes-related complications within 1-3 years of starting effective preventive care.


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