Diabetes sufferers are just as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as those who have already survived a heart attack according to a recent Danish study published in the journal Circulation.
The study of 3.3 million residents of Denmark over the age of 30 was conducted between 1997 and 2002. 71,801 of those studied had been diagnosed with either type-1 or type-2 diabetes while a further 79,575 had suffered a prior heart attack.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that those with diabetes were 2.32 and 2.48 times more likely to die from either a stroke, heart attack or another form of cardiovascular disease for men and women respectively compared to non-diabetics.
Those who had been suffered a previous heart attack, were 2.48 and 2.71 times more likely to die from another heart attack, stroke, or other form of cardiovascular disease for men and women respectively compared to those who had not suffered a heart attack previously.
The cardiovascular risks were similar for both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, those with diabetes who suffer a heart attack are twice as likely to die from it compared to non-diabetics.
Many diabetics are unaware just how much higher their risk of developing cardiovascular disease is. Lead researcher Dr. Tina Ken Schramm, of the Department of Cardiology believes that diabetics need to be more aggressive in reducing controllable cardiovascular disease risk factors. According to Schramm: “We’ve talked about ‘the lower, the better’ for cholesterol and blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart attack. Now I think we should be saying ‘the sooner, the better’ for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases in diabetics.”
Diabetics should focus on the factors relating to cardiovascular disease that they can change, for example: losing excess weight, dietary changes such as increasing consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, quitting smoking, and exercising regularly. Medications such as cholesterol lowering drugs (statins), blood pressure lowering drugs, or over the counter medications such as aspirin may also be required.
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