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Increasing Proportion of Cardiovascular Disease Due to Diabetes,Over the Last 50 Years

BETHESDA, Md., March 27, 2007--A new study shows that as rates of diabetes have risen in the U.S., the proportion of cardiovascular disease (CVD) linked to diabetes has also increased.

These findings emphasize the need for increased efforts to prevent diabetes and to aggressively treat and control CVD risk factors among those with diabetes, according to the investigators from the long-standing Framingham Heart Study, a program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers compared risk factors for cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular “events” such as heart attacks in Framingham study participants from two different time periods. The first group was examined between 1952 and 1974 and the more recent group was examined between 1975 and 1998. A total of 9,540 individuals age 45 to 64 were evaluated. The risk attributable to diabetes was 5.2 percent in the earlier time period, compared to 7.8 percent in the later period. Most of the increased risk was observed among men. The scientists also reported that the prevalence of diabetes among those with CVD almost doubled between the earlier and later time periods and there was also an increase in the prevalence of obesity.

“Increasing Cardiovascular Burden Due to Diabetes: the Framingham Heart Study” is published in the March 27th issue of Circulation and is also currently available online (March 12 Rapid Access issue).

Caroline Fox, M.D., lead author and medical officer with the Framingham Heart Study of NHLBI, is available to comment on the study’s findings. She can discuss reasons for the increased burden of cardiovascular disease due to diabetes and the need to aggressively treat and control cardiovascular disease risk factors in people with diabetes.

To schedule interviews with Dr. Fox, contact the NHLBI Communications Office at 301
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