ADA: Diabetes Doubles Risk of Several Vascular Diseases

Meta-analysis suggests diabetes is responsible for 11 percent of cardiovascular deaths

FRIDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetes independently doubles the risk of a range of vascular diseases, and may now account for one in every 10 deaths from cardiovascular disease, according to research published in the June 26 American Diabetes Association meeting Special Issue of The Lancet to coincide with presentation at the American Diabetes Association's 70th Scientific Sessions, held from June 25 to 29 in Orlando, Fla.

Researchers from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom conducted a meta-analysis of 102 prospective studies involving 698,782 people in 25 countries who initially had no vascular disease, of whom 52,765 eventually had nonfatal or fatal vascular outcomes.

The researchers found that diabetes was strongly associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, unclassified stroke, and the aggregate for other vascular deaths (adjusted hazard ratios, 2.00, 2.27, 1.56, 1.84, and 1.73, respectively). At a 10 percent adult population-wide prevalence, they estimated that diabetes accounted for 11 percent of vascular deaths. In patients without diabetes, however, they found that fasting blood glucose concentration was only weakly associated with the risk of vascular disease.

"Our data suggest that in this decade about 10 percent of vascular deaths in populations in developed countries have been attributable to diabetes in adults, corresponding to an estimated 325,000 deaths per year in high-income countries alone (plus several-fold more people disabled by vascular disease)," the authors write. "This burden will increase if the incidence of diabetes continues to rise, even if rates of vascular disease continue to fall because of decreases in smoking, improvements in treatment, or other reasons."

This study was partly supported by Pfizer; one author disclosed financial ties to Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies, and another author disclosed ties to GlaxoSmithKline.

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Rick Ansorge

Rick Ansorge

Updated on June 28, 2010

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