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Skin Autofluorescence Could Signal Type 2 Diabetes Risks

Hallmark of vascular damage linked to complications of the disease

THURSDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Skin autofluorescence is more common in type 2 diabetics than in non-diabetics, and could be used as a non-invasive way to determine the risk of vascular damage due to diabetes, researchers report in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Helen L. Lutgers, M.D., of the University Medical Center Groningen, in the Netherlands, and colleagues compared medical information and skin autofluorescence in 973 type 2 diabetics with 231 controls. Autofluorescence was determined by illuminating the forearm with a fluorescent tube.

The researchers found skin autofluorescence more common in type 2 diabetics than controls. They found a strong link between skin autofluorescence, age and smoking in controls, and between age, gender, smoking, length of diabetes and other factors in diabetics.

Skin autofluorescence was markedly more elevated in type 2 diabetics with damage to large and small blood vessels than in diabetics with microvascular complications only, or in those with no complications, the report indicates.

"This study confirms in a large group of type 2 diabetic patients that skin autofluorescence is higher compared with age-matched control subjects and is associated with the severity of diabetes-related complications," the authors write. "Skin autofluorescence reflecting vascular damage might be a rapid and helpful tool in the diabetes outpatient clinic for identifying diabetic patients who are at risk for developing complications"

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