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Diabetes May Double Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke
Date:6/25/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes appears to double the risk of dying from a heart attack, stroke or other heart condition, a new study finds.

The researchers implicate diabetes in one of every 10 deaths from cardiovascular disease, or about 325,000 deaths a year in industrialized countries.

"We have known for decades that people with diabetes are more likely to have heart attacks," said researcher Nadeem Sarwar, a lecturer in cardiovascular epidemiology at the University of Cambridge in England.

"But, in spite of decades of research, several questions have persisted as to how much higher this risk is, whether it's explained by things we already know of, and whether the risk is different in different people," he said.

These findings, Sarwar added, highlight the need to prevent and control diabetes, a disease in which blood sugar levels are too high.

The report is published in the June 26 issue of The Lancet, and Sarwar plans to present the findings at the American Diabetes Association's meeting, June 25 to 29 in Orlando, Fla.

For the study, Sarwar's team collected data on 698,782 people who participated in an international consortium. The participants were followed for 10 years through 102 surveys done in 25 countries.

The researchers found that having diabetes nearly doubled the risk of suffering from various diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. But this risk was only partially due to the usual culprits -- cholesterol, blood pressure and obesity, Sarwar said.

This suggests that diabetes may cause cardiovascular disease by a different mechanism, the study authors noted.

"This is a particularly exciting finding in terms of drug development and new therapeutic targets," Sarwar said.

In addition, the researchers found that higher-than-normal blood sugar in people without diabetes was not strongly
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