Ultrasound high-resolution B-mode imaging was used to assess the carotid arteries in 105 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), 4–25 years of age, with duration of diabetes ranging from 0.5–17 years, 529 patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM), 31–86 years of age, with duration of diabetes ranging from 0.5–49 years, and 104 nondiabetic healthy subjects, 7–76 years of age, to determine the intimal plus medial thickness (IMT) of the arterial wall. The IMT values for IDDM patients 10–19 years of age (0.525 ± 0.123 mm, n = 68) or 20–25 years of age (0.696 ± 0.124 mm, n = 14) were significantly > those in age-matched nondiabetic subjects (0.444 ± 0.057 mm, n = 12, P = 0.01169; 0.538 ± 0.098 mm, n = 34, P < 0.00006). NIDDM patients showed IMT values equivalent to those in normal adults ≥ 20 years of age. Multiple regression analysis showed that IMT in IDDM patients was positively related to the duration of diabetes (P = 0.00061) as well as to age (P = 0.00046). No other possible risk factors, such as serum total cholesterol level, serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol level, serum low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol level, serum triglycerides, serum lipoprotein(a) level, or systolic or diastolic blood pressure, have shown significant correlations with IMT in IDDM patients. However, non-HDL-cholesterol, smoking, and systolic hypertension were independently responsible for increases in IMT values of NIDDM patients as well as age and duration of diabetes. The partial regression coefficient of IMT for duration of diabetes (0.00978 mm/year) consistent with that of IMT for age (0.00848–0.00909 mm/year) in nondiabetic and diabetic subjects indicated that diabetes led to carotid atherosclerosis that was twice as advanced in children and adolescents with IDDM. Ultrasound high-resolution B-mode imaging revealed atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries of young IDDM patients on in vivo examination. Diabetes as well as aging can advance atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries of young diabetic patients. The IMT of carotid arteries, which can be measured noninvasively and frequently, may be an important indicator of atherosclerosis, even in young IDDM patients.

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