Introduction We explored the presence of chronic complications in subjects with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes referred to the Verona Diabetes Clinic. Metabolic (insulin secretion and sensitivity) and clinical features associated with complications were also investigated. Research design and methods The comprehensive assessment of microvascular and macrovascular complications included detailed medical history, resting ECG, ultrasonography of carotid and lower limb arteries, quantitative neurological evaluation, cardiovascular autonomic tests, ophthalmoscopy, kidney function tests. Insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function were assessed by state-of-the-art techniques (insulin clamp and mathematical modeling of glucose/C-peptide curves during oral glucose tolerance test). Results We examined 806 patients (median age years, two-thirds males), of whom prior clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) was revealed in 11.2% and preclinical CVD in 7.7%. Somatic neuropathy was found in 21.2% and cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy in 18.6%. Retinopathy was observed in 4.9% (background 4.2%, proliferative 0.7%). Chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m 2) was found in 8.8% and excessive albuminuria in 13.2% (microalbuminuria 11.9%, macroalbuminuria 1.3%). Isolated microvascular disease occurred in 30.8%, isolated macrovascular disease in 9.3%, a combination of both in 9.1%, any complication in 49.2% and no complications in 50.8%. Gender, age, body mass index, smoking, hemoglobin A1c and/or hypertension were independently associated with one or more complications. Insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction were associated with macrovascular but not microvascular disease. Conclusions Despite a generally earlier diagnosis for an increased awareness of the disease, as many as ∼50% of patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes had clinical or preclinical manifestations of microvascular and/or macrovascular disease. Insulin resistance might play an independent role in macrovascular disease. Trial registration number NCT01526720.
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