Main Article Content

Children and adolescents with diabetes at Tygerberg Hospital – at risk of cardiovascular complications?

N Dookhony
C J Lombard
E W Zöllner


Background. In South Africa, the prevalence of dyslipidaemia and hypertension (HT) in paediatric diabetes patients is unknown.
Objectives. To determine the prevalence of dyslipidaemia and HT in paediatric diabetic patients seen at Tygerberg Hospital (TBH) and establish whether either is associated with body mass index (BMI), glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) or duration of diabetes. Further, to determine whether the prevalence differs between two specified periods.
Methods. A retrospective study of 154 diabetic patients, aged 1 - 19 years, seen at TBH between 2007 and 2017, was undertaken. The following data were recorded: age; sex; duration of disease (time since diagnosis); height; weight; blood pressure; HbA1c; high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C); triglycerides (TG); and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).
Results. More than half of the patients (57.8%; n=89/154; 95% confidence interval (CI) 51.7 - 65.0) had dyslipidaemia, 16.3% (n=24/147) had low HDL-C levels, 53.8% (n=78/145) had high LDL-C levels and 14.9% (n=22/148) had raised TG levels. Nearly half of the patients (48.7%; n=75/154; 95% CI 41.6 - 55.1) were hypertensive and 93.5% (n=144/154) were poorly controlled (HbA1c >7.5%). Dyslipidaemia was not associated with HT or BMI percentile and its prevalence did not change between the two specified periods. Prevalence of dyslipidaemia and HT was not associated with duration of diabetes. About one-third (30.8% (n=4/13); 95% CI 11.9 - 59.3) of the pre‑adolescents and 60.3% (n=85/141; 95% CI 51.9 - 68.1) of the adolescents had dyslipidaemia (p=0.04). Dyslipidaemia was diagnosed in 62.6% (n=82/131) of adolescents with poorly controlled diabetes (p=0.04) and in 71.7% (95% CI 59.0 - 81.7) of patients ≥16 years of age (p=0.005).
Conclusions. Poor glycaemic control, dyslipidaemia and HT are common in diabetic children, putting them at risk of cardiovascular complications in adulthood.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1999-7671
print ISSN: 1994-3032