Int J Sports Med 1992; 13(5): 431-435
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1021293
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

The Influence of Diabetes Mellitus on Cardiovascular Function in Children and Adolescents

T. W. Rowland, P. M. Martha Jr., E. O. Reiter, L. N. Cunningham
  • Departments of Pediatrics, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA, and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and the Department of Physical Education, Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA
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Publication History

Publication Date:
14 March 2008 (online)


Early manifestations of non-atherosclerotic cardiomyopathy, a recognized complication of diabetes in adults, have been suggested to contribute to depressed levels of aerobic fitness described in children and adolescents with this disease. This study measured components of aerobic fitness and cardiovascular function during maximal cycle ergometer exercise in 11 insulin-dependent diabetic boys aged 10.2-16.5 years. Mean duration of diabetes was 4.5 years. Eleven non-diabetic subjects matched for age, body size, and regular physical activity served as controls. No differences in maximal oxygen uptake or heart rate were observed between the two groups, nor were any significant differences recorded in submaximal stroke volume, cardiac output, heart rate, and pressure-rate product. This study failed to reveal any evidence of functional myocardial disease in children and young adolescents with diabetes, suggesting that manifestations of diabetic cardiomyopathy should not be expected during the pediatric years. Moreover, these findings indicating normal cardiovascular function in young diabetic subjects imply that regular levels of habitual physical activity are more likely to affect aerobic fitness in these patients rather than influences of the diabetic state itself.