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Having Diabetes Equivalent to Aging 15 Years

Diabetic patients over 40 have cardiovascular disease risk four times higher than peers

WEDNESDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetics fall into the high-risk category for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk 15 years earlier than their non-diabetic counterparts, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of The Lancet.

Gillian L. Booth, M.D., of the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a population-based study of 379,003 diabetics and 9,018,082 non-diabetics who were resident in Ontario, Canada in April 1994 and followed up on them to ascertain CVD events that occurred through March 2000.

Compared with non-diabetics, the transition to the CVD high-risk category occurred on average 14.6 years earlier in diabetics. Men and women became high risk for stroke, acute myocardial infarction and death from any cause at ages 47.9 and 54.3 years, respectively. When the data were analyzed using a broader definition of CVD that included coronary or carotid revascularization, entry into the high-risk category occurred at 41.3 and 47.7 years for diabetic men and women, respectively.

Given that diabetics who were aged 40 years or younger did not usually fall into the high-risk category, the authors recommend that age should be taken into account when devising targeted risk-reduction strategies.

"However, further work to develop appropriate algorithms for CVD risk in young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes is crucially important to guide therapeutic decisions in these individuals," they conclude.

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