MONDAY, Nov. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The more weight that diabetics gain, the greater their risk of cardiovascular disease, says a Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center study.
It included 5,145 people at 16 medical centers across the United States. Their body mass index (BMI) was compared against three risk factors for cardiovascular disease among people with diabetes: high blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or the "bad"cholesterol), high blood sugar, and a combination of all three.
Overall, the study found that the higher the BMI, the worse a person's control of these risk factors.
"Among persons with diabetes, the degree of obesity may be an important barrier to optimal control of cardiovascular disease risk factors," Dr. Alain Bertoni, an assistant professor of public health sciences and epidemiology, said in a prepared statement. "Weight-loss programs may be an important component of prevention of cardiovascular disease."
The study found that 56 percent of people with a BMI over 40 (morbidly obese) had blood pressure over 130/80, compared to 41 percent of people with a BMI between 25 and 30 (mildy overweight). About 44 percent of the people with a BMI between 30 and 35 and about 52 percent of those with a BMI between 35 and 40 had blood pressures above 130/80.
Under new U.S. national guidelines, systolic blood pressure in the 130-139 range or diastolic pressure in the 80-89 range are considered pre-hypertension, a situation that doubles the risk of developing high blood pressure. Pre-hypertension requires immediate action, especially in people with diabetes, the study authors noted.
The study was presented Monday at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in New Orleans.
The National Diabetes Education Program has more about controlling your diabetes.