Insulin resistance, a condition commonly associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, is likely a major cause of heart disease in people with type 1 diabetes, according to study results published by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) researchers in the May 2003 issue of Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association.
"Heart disease is a major complication for people with diabetes, including those with type 1 diabetes, and until now there has been no clear explanation for its cause," said principal investigator Trevor Orchard, M.D., professor and acting chair, department of epidemiology, GSPH. "We now suspect that insulin resistance occurs in those with type 1 diabetes in the same way as it does in those with type 2, essentially giving these individuals double diabetes and greatly increasing their risk of heart disease."
Insulin resistance, long associated with type 2 diabetes and a known risk factor for heart disease, occurs when the body does not properly use insulin to metabolize blood glucose, or sugar. The condition results when insulin fails to enable cells to admit glucose, necessary for cells energy production. Glucose then builds up in the blood, and additional insulin is required. The new study suggests that this condition can occur in people who have type 1 diabetes as well.
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