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Heart Attack May Increase Diabetes Risk

Study indicates higher glucose intolerance levels after hospitalization

THURSDAY, June 20, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- As if having a heart attack didn't cause enough problems -- it appears that while you're being treated in the hospital, you have an increased risk of developing diabetes.

A study in the new issue of The Lancet looked at 181 heart attack patients admitted to two different coronary care units in Sweden who hadn't been diagnosed with diabetes. The researchers recorded the patients' glucose concentrations while the patients were in the hospital. They did standardized oral glucose tolerance tests when the patients were discharged from the hospital -- usually four-to-five days after being admitted -- and again three months after discharge.

The researchers found that in the two groups, 35 percent and 40 percent of them had impaired glucose tolerance when they left the hospital. This didn't change after three months. The researchers also found undiagnosed diabetes in 31 percent of one group and 25 percent of the other group.

The researchers say the study's findings suggest that measuring the glucose of these patients immediately after a heart attack may be a way to identify people who are at high risk for diabetes.

People with diabetes who have a heart attack are more likely to die than those without diabetes, the researchers say. Previous research shows that people with prediabetic conditions, such as impaired glucose tolerance, are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

An accompanying commentary in the same issue of The Lancet suggests people who've been hospitalized with heart attacks be given an oral glucose tolerance test as standard procedure when they're discharged from the hospital.

An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from adult (Type II) diabetes, and another two-to-three million have insulin-dependent (Type I) diabetes.

More information

The association between heart problems and diabetes has been long-established. The National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases gives tips on how to take care of your heart and blood vessels to fight off diabetes.

SOURCE: The Lancet news release
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