A study on youth diabetes partly conducted at Kaiser Permanente research facility laboratories here in Pasadena show that teens and young adults with type 2 diabetes develop kidney, nerve, and eye diseases more often than those with type 1 diabetes in the years shortly after diagnosis.

The results are the latest findings of the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A report on medical and health news service Medical Xpress said researchers in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study examined how quickly and how often youth developed signs of kidney, nerve and eye diseases, among the most common complications of diabetes. They also measured several risk factors for heart disease.

“There’s often the assumption that young people don’t develop complications from diabetes, but that’s just not true,” Dr. Barbara Linder, a study author and senior advisor for childhood diabetes research within the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), tells Medical Xpress. “We saw that young people with diabetes are developing signs of major complications in the prime of their lives.”

Key findings in the study which is the largest of its kind in the United States include the following:

For youth with type 2 diabetes, nearly 20 percent developed a sign of kidney disease by the end of the study, compared to about 6 percent of youth with type 1 diabetes.

For youth with type 2, about 18 percent developed nerve disease, versus about 9 percent with type 1.

For youth with type 2, about 9 percent developed eye disease, compared to about 6 percent of youth with type 1.

Measures for two risk factors for heart disease – hypertension and arterial stiffness – were greater for youth with type 2 but close to equal for a third risk factor – cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy.

Though youth with type 2 diabetes showed signs of complications more often than their peers with type 1, many youth in both groups developed complications.

SEARCH examined 1,746 youth with type 1 diabetes and 272 with type 2 diabetes at five clinical centers including Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena.

The other centers are at the University of Colorado in Denver, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, served as coordinating center.

Among the factors the researchers looked at were glucose control, body mass index, waist-to-height ratio and blood pressure.

The study did not identify a factor that could explain why people with type 2 developed more complications than counterparts with type 1.