We compared arterial stiffness and heart rate variability (HRV) over time by diabetes type and determined the risk factors associated with worsening arterial stiffness and HRV in young adults with youth-onset diabetes.


Arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity, augmentation index) and six indices of heart rate variability were measured twice, 4.5 years apart, among participants with either youth-onset type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study. Multivariable linear regression models were used to assess risk factors associated with arterial stiffness and HRV at follow-up.


Of 1,159 participants studied, 949 had type 1 diabetes (mean age 17.1 ± 4.7 years, 60.3% non-Hispanic White, 55% female) and 210 had type 2 diabetes (mean age 22.1 ± 3.5 years, 23.8% non-Hispanic White, 71% female) at initial assessment when diabetes duration was 7.9 years (both groups). Participants with type 2 versus type 1 diabetes had greater arterial stiffness and more abnormalities in HRV at initial and follow-up assessment and a greater change over time (all P < 0.05). Risk factors associated with worse arterial stiffness and HRV at follow-up in both types of diabetes included higher blood pressure, hemoglobin A1c, waist circumference, and triglycerides over time and longer diabetes duration.


Arterial stiffness and HRV worsened over time with greater changes among participants with type 2 versus type 1 diabetes and among those with features of the metabolic syndrome. The risk factor profile documents potentially modifiable pathways to prevent or limit cardiovascular complications in young adults with youth-onset diabetes.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.19299005.

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