Saturday, 26 June 2010

Diabetes Doubles Heart Disease Risk

Diabetes Doubles Heart Disease Risk

Diabetes doubles the risk of heart disease and strokes, a study has shown - but scientists are still uncertain why.

The new findings confirm diabetes is strongly associated with disorders linked to the health of blood vessels.

One in 10 deaths from heart and artery diseases - around 325,000 a year in all the industrialised countries combined - are now thought to be due to diabetes.

But only a small fraction of the harmful effects can be explained by known risk factors including high levels of blood fats, high blood pressure, and obesity, the research showed.

Scientists also found higher-than-average blood sugar levels in people without diabetes were only weakly related to cardiovascular disease. High blood sugar is the key hazard of diabetes.

The findings suggest diabetes damages blood vessels through other undisclosed pathways.

An international group of researchers led by Cambridge University scientists analysed data from 102 studies in 25 countries involving 700,000 participants.

They found having diabetes roughly doubled the risk of developing heart disease or suffering different kinds of stroke.

Dr Nadeem Sarwar, one of the Cambridge scientists, said: "Our findings highlight the need for better prevention of diabetes coupled with greater investigation of the mechanisms by which diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease."

The research appears in The Lancet medical journal and was also presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Orlando, Florida.

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