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14 February 2017 08:05
There are 3.8 million people in the UK with diabetes
A new "age defying" hormone could offer a breakthrough in preventing kidney and heart disease in people who suffer from diabetes.
A reduction in the levels of the hormone Klotho allows scientists to identify early signs of kidney disease in diabetic patients, according to new research conducted at King's College, London.
Lead researcher Dr Giuseppe Maltese, said: "For the first time, Klotho has been linked to kidney disease in Type 1 diabetes patients and this finding represents an exciting step towards developing new markers for disease and potentially new treatments."
A breakthrough study
Klotho protects arteries from ageing-related changes, such as the thickening of blood vessel walls - a condition that is linked to heart disease.
The urine samples of 78 people with Type 1 diabetes were analysed as part of the study.
Among these samples were 33 patients who were starting to show signs of diabetic kidney disease.
Scientists found those patients who did not suffer from kidney disease had healthy levels of circulating Klotho - the same as a typical healthy adult.
Meanwhile, patients with lower levels of the hormone were those suffering from microalbuminuria, or diabetic kidney disease.
According to figures from Public Health England, there are around 3.8 million people in the UK with diabetes, which is roughly 9% of the population.
Anyone suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can take out medical travel insurance to cover the pre-existing condition.
Co-author Dr Richard Siow, co-ordinator of ageing research at King's College, said: "Our research will help scientists to better understand the mechanisms by which this hormone benefits healthy ageing, as well as how deficits in Klotho lead to age-related diseases."
The researchers now plan to extend the study to other "high risk" groups, including those who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
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