Diabetes Doubles Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

    (BlackDoctor.org) –  A recent study emphasizes the need to increase efforts in diabetes prevention. Diabetes doubles the risk of developing serious blood vessel diseases and life-threatening events such as strokes and heart attacks and there’s been one surprising find: Only a small part of the effects of diabetes on heart disease and stroke can be explained by blood fats, blood pressure, and obesity.

    Other key findings include:
    •    Blood glucose levels alone should not be used to help identify people at increased risk of heart disease or stroke.
    •    Diabetes may cause damage through additional routes than obesity, blood fats, and blood pressure.
    •    Higher than average fasting blood glucose levels are only weakly related to later development of heart attacks or strokes.

    These new insights highlight the need for better prevention of diabetes coupled with greater investigation of the mechanisms by which diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Information on age, sex, smoking habits, blood pressure and blood fats routinely needs to be collected to assess risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Findings indicate that adding information on fasting blood glucose levels in people without diabetes does not provide significant extra help in assessing cardiovascular risk.

    The relationship between blood sugar levels above the normal range and vascular outcomes could be linked to a wide range of other factors, such as lipid metabolism, fat deposition into tissue, and liver function. Any or all of these factors and others might promote cardiovascular disease through various known and unknown mechanisms. Large long-term clinical trials of insulin-replacement therapy, incretins [hormones that increase insulin output] and other approaches targeting one or more of these abnormalities that are either underway or about to start are certain to shed more light on the link between dysglycemia and serious outcomes.

    Dysglycemia is a disorder of blood sugar metabolism. Glucose alone is not the only player in heart attack risk of people with diabetes.

    The study also shows that:
    •    Cardiovascular disease is responsible for some 17 million deaths annually, worldwide.
    •    Coronary heart disease risks were higher in women than in men 40-59 than at age 70 and older.