A new test called autoflourescence can often predict which people with diabetes will develop complications such as heart and kidney disease.
Science may have a new tool in its arsenal for thwarting the often brutal complications of diabetes.
In the Netherlands researchers testing autofluorescence found they could predict fairly accurately which patients would develop diabetic nerve and kidney complications. Autoflourescence is a non-invasive method that reads skin tones. No, it is not measuring how young you appear!
Many people who have lived with diabetes for a long time have pigmented skin on their legs, caused by the protein hemosiderin. Hemosiderin reacts to light, so an autofluorescence device can measure hemosiderin levels in skin where is accumulates.
Hemosiderin accumulates in the body’s tissues, including the pancreas. Hemosiderin's presence in a person's skin also means it could be affecting the heart, pancreas, or liver.
The value of autofluorescence has already been proven with studies predicting heart complications in type 2 diabetics. In a recent study published in Diabetes Care, investigators tested their theory about detecting microvascular complications in people with diabetes.
The researchers followed patients for a little more than three years, and had a high rate of success predicting neuropathies and microalbuminuria (albumin in the urine: often a precursor to renal complications). However, they could not predict retinopathies (bleeding capillaries in the eye which can lead to blindness).