Newborn babies of lighter than average weight have a “markedly” higher risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
Lower weight at birth was also linked with a different presentation of the blood sugar disorder, getting diagnosed at a younger age, not being obese at the time, and having fewer individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes.
Every extra kilo at birth was linked to a 40 percent lower risk of the disorder, a trend that continued right up to the heaviest tots, according to the findings.
Meanwhile, every kilo decrease in birth weight was linked with developing diabetes 3.3 years earlier than the average.
Researchers from Steno Diabetes Center in Denmark and Lund University, Malmö, Sweden, observed the same children had a higher risk of using diabetes drugs and were more likely to face co-morbidities such as high blood pressure.
Birth weights under 30kg carried a higher comorbidity and a 36 percent higher chance of having three or more extra illnesses, and a 26 percent raised chance of having severe hypotension systolic blood pressure.
In Denmark, the average birth weight is 3.4kg, in the UK, it is 3.3kg. If newborns weighed under 3kg they were also more likely to receive a diagnosis at a younger age, they also had a 33 percent higher chance of using three or more glucose-lowering drugs.
Dr. Rasmus Wibaek, of Steno Diabetes Center, said: “Notably, the absolute rate of increase in type 2 diabetes incidence across age was markedly steeper in persons born with lower birth weights compared with higher birth weights.
“Taken together, the two studies collectively provide strong support for the following conclusions: an adverse fetal environment reflected by low birth weight is a strong and non-genetic risk factor not only of developing type 2 diabetes per se but in addition for the development of a relatively more severe subtype of type 2 diabetes – with earlier disease onset, more complications, and co-morbidities, as well as with an increased need for clinical care and medical treatments.
“The impact of low birth weight appears independent to that of genetics and obesity, which is why people with low birth weight are at a relatively increased risk for type 2 diabetes for any given increase in BMI.
“This, in turn, explains the finding of a lower BMI in low birth weight subjects at the time of type 2 diabetes onset.
“Low birth weight should therefore be considered as a criteria for screening for type 2 diabetes with same importance as that of a positive family history of diabetes.”
He added: “Notably, neither people with a lower birth weight, nor those with a high genetic risk of type 2 diabetes are actually at a particularly very high absolute risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they are able to keep a normal BMI throughout their lives.
“Finally, within the era of precision medicine, low birth weight holds the potential to be used as a marker to guide clinical care and treatment in type 2 diabetes.”
The first study found the older individuals got the higher the rate of diabetes, and males were far more likely to receive a diagnosis. At the same time, the rate of diabetes decreased with every extra kilogram weight at birth.
To obtain the results, they looked at 1999 to 2001 data on adults aged 30 to 60 years old who gave their birth weight records between 1939 and 1971. None were born with the disease.
Among 4,590 participants, 492 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by the time they were, on average, 19 years old.
The second study analyzed midwife records for 6,866 people with type 2 diabetes babies.
Experts assessed their age at diagnosis, body dimensions, comorbidities, medications, metabolic variables, and family history of those with the lowest and highest 25 percent of birth weights.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Newsdesk Manager
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