Respiratory infection recurrence and passive smoking in early atherosclerosis in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes

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Optimal glucose control in juvenile type 1 diabetes mellitus is necessary but not sufficient to reduce the burden of cardiovascular events in later life. This emphasizes the importance of searching for other possible risk factors associated with diabetes. We investigated whether recurrent episodes of acute respiratory infections and exposure to tobacco smoke could influence vascular phenotypes for early atherosclerosis in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

Materials and methods

Common carotid artery elasticity and intima-media thickness along with circulating markers of lipid, inflammatory and glycaemic profiles were investigated in up to 98 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The number of clinically manifest acute respiratory tract infections (RTI) during the past year, and the degree of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), were assessed by separate questionnaires.


Carotid artery compliance (CAC) was decreased in patients with high (≥ 4/year; n = 22) recurrence of RTI compared to the remaining patients (n = 40; P < 0·05). In a multivariate analysis, the number of RTI during the past year and HbA1C were independently associated with decreased CAC (P < 0·05 for both). The inverse relationship between RTI recurrence and CAC was strengthened by frequent exposure to ETS.


High recurrence of respiratory infections in young type 1 diabetics is associated with increased stiffening of the carotid artery particularly in those often exposed to tobacco smoke.

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