Cystatin C (CysC) is associated with arterial stiffness. However, its suitability for evaluating patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains unclear. We aimed to investigate the relationship between CysC levels and peripheral arterial stiffness (PAS) in patients with T2DM combined with CKD. Participants' arterial stiffness was assessed using brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), and those with a baPWV ≥ 1800 cm/s were included in the PAS group. Additionally, patients were divided into young (18-44 years old), middle-aged (45-59 years old), and older (≥ 60 years old) groups. Of 200 patients, 94 (47%) were diagnosed with PAS. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that age, pulse pressure, and CysC levels (odds ratio = 1.525, 95% confidence interval: 1.072-2.168, P = 0.019) were independently correlated with PAS in patients with T2DM combined with CKD. The levels of CysC in different age groups were positively correlated with baPWV, and the correlation was significantly higher in the young group (r = 0.739, P < 0.001) than in the middle-aged (r = 0.329, P < 0.001) and older (r = 0.496, P < 0.001) groups. The multifactor linear regression analysis revealed that CysC was significantly correlated with baPWV in the young group (β = 0.455, P = 0.002). CysC was an independent predictor of PAS in patients with T2DM combined with CKD and was more significantly associated with baPWV in young patients than in middle-aged and older patients. CysC may may be an early predictor of peripheral arteriosclerosis in patients with T2DM combined with CKD.

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