OBJECTIVE: To examine carotid intimal-medial thickness (IMT) and its determinants in newly detected type 2 diabetic subjects, classified according to the new criteria of the American Diabetes Association, in comparison with age- and sex-matched control subjects with normal glucose tolerance. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: This study was case-controlled, with matched pairs for 71 newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic individuals. Subjects aged 40-70 years were recruited from a risk population for diabetes seen in the Risk Factors in IGT for Atherosclerosis and Diabetes (RIAD) Study. Standard risk factors, 75-g oral glucose tolerance test with real insulin, proinsulin, and C-peptide, and ultrasound measurement of the IMT of the common carotid artery were performed. RESULTS: The diabetic subjects, both men and women, displayed carotid intimal-medial thickening, even in the subgroup with fasting plasma glucose between 7.0 and 7.8 mmol/l. HbA1c was significantly increased in the diabetic patients (6.33 vs. 5.48%). Insulin, proinsulin, and C-peptide were also significantly higher. Among the coronary risk factors, triglycerides and plasminogen activator inhibitor were significantly increased. After age and sex adjustment. IMT in the diabetic group was correlated to triglycerides and the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. In the total group, IMT was significantly correlated to blood pressure, 2-h glucose in oral glucose tolerance testing, triglycerides, albuminuria, and the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio, and inversely correlated to HDL cholesterol. No independent determinant of IMT was found in the diabetic group by multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Newly detected type 2 diabetic patients exhibit a higher degree of early atherosclerosis than normal glucose-tolerant subjects matched for age and sex. Our data suggest that hyperglycemia, together with a clustering of risk factors, and in particular dyslipidemia, may cause intimal-medial thickening in the early phases of diabetes.

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