MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Juliana CN Chan MD
Chair Professor of Medicine and Therapeutics
Head, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics
Director, Hong Kong Institute of Diabetes and Obesity
Director, Clinical Research Management Office
Faculty of Medicine
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The prevalence of young onset diabetes (YOD) is increasing world-wide with doubling of its prevalence in the last 10 years in many developed nations. Using the Hong Kong Diabetes Register established since 1995, we first reported that 1 in 5 Chinese adults with diabetes were diagnosed before the age of 40 years. These young patients had poor control of multiple risk factors with 1.5 fold higher risk of premature death and cardiovascular-renal complications compared to patients with usual onset of diabetes after the age of 40 (Chan JC et al AJM 2014, Luk A et al Diabetes Care 2014). Due to the multisystem nature of diabetes, we asked the question whether these young patients might have recurrent hospitalizations during their 3-4 decades of complex clinical course.
Using a territory-wide diabetes database involving 0.42 million people followed up between 2002 and 2014, we compared the hospitalization rates accrued till the age of 75 years and found that patients with young onset diabetes had the highest hospitalization rates by attained age. Compared to patients with usual onset of diabetes, patients with YOD had 1.8- 6.7 higher risk of hospitalizations due to all-causes, notably renal disease compared to those with usual onset of disease.
Amongst patients with young onset diabetes, over one-third of the bed-days were due to mental illness before the age of 40 years. We used mathematical modeling and estimated that intensified risk factor control in YOD can reduce the cumulative bed-days by 30% which can be further reduced by delaying the onset of diabetes. These original data is a wakening call to the community regarding the complex nature of YOD involving interactions amongst environment, lifestyles and personal factors (e.g. genetics, education and socioeconomic status) and the biomedical-psychological-behavioral needs of these high risk population, which if undiagnosed, untreated or suboptimally managed, can have huge economic impacts on health care system and loss of societal productivity, leaving personal suffering aside. Continue reading