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In Men, Duration of Diabetes Linked to Raised Heart Risk
Date:3/14/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- When a man develops type 2 diabetes could determine his risk of a heart attack, a new study finds.

In fact, men who have had type 2 diabetes for a decade or more face the same risk as those who have already had a prior heart attack, the researchers found.

The findings, appearing this week in the March 14 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, may help to stratify patients based on risk level, to better determine who needs what type of care and when.

"You don't want to give all these big, powerful, expensive medicines to every single person. Maybe we can tease out the group that would benefit more," said Dr. Robert Scott III, an associate professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and senior staff cardiologist at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. He was not involved in the new study.

Prior research had indicated that the risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes was the same as in people who had had a previous heart attack. But this research indicates that the risk really does have more to do with timing.

After following about 4,000 men aged 60 to 79 for nine years, British researchers led by S. Goya Wannamethee of University College London, found a higher risk of heart attacks and death in all those who had diabetes, compared to men who didn't have the illness.

Risk rose along with duration of disease -- compared to men without diabetes, men who had early-onset diabetes (in this case, for an average of 17 years or more) had 2.5 times the risk of a heart attack. That level of risk was equal to that of men with a prior history of heart attack, the team noted.

Men who had late-onset diabetes (an average of five years with the disease) had a 54 percent increased risk of a heart attack or of dying.

The risk for cardiovascular problems ro
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