Even healthy-looking diabetics at 6-fold risk of heart failure

A new study has claimed that diabetes patients, who generally appear healthy, can still face six-fold higher risk of developing heart failure.

ANI| Updated: Sep 11, 2014, 14:42 PM IST

Washington: A new study has claimed that diabetes patients, who generally appear healthy, can still face six-fold higher risk of developing heart failure.

In nearly 50 percent of people with diabetes in their study, researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health employing an ultra-sensitive test were able to identify minute levels of a protein released into the blood when heart cells die. The finding suggested that people with diabetes may be suffering undetectable, but potentially dangerous heart muscle damage, possibly caused by their elevated blood sugar levels.

As per the study, a large subsection of people with diabetes face increased risk of heart failure and cardiac death unrelated to the common culprits of cholesterol and atherosclerosis.

Study leader Elizabeth Selvin, said that it seemed like diabetes might be slowly killing heart muscle in ways which had not been thought of before. Because of the link between cardiovascular disease and diabetes, people with newly diagnosed diabetes were typically prescribed a statin, one of a hugely popular class of cholesterol-lowering drugs. The study suggested that there might be people with diabetes whose heart risk may have nothing to do with cholesterol.

For the study, the researchers measured troponin concentrations using the highly sensitive assay in blood samples from more than 9,000 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) at two time points, six years apart. Those with diabetes were two and a half times more likely to have elevated troponin levels than those without. Then the researchers looked at 14 years of follow-up data from ARIC. Diabetics with elevated troponin were six times more likely to develop heart failure and four times more likely to have a heart attack. Those with pre-diabetes, a condition associated with a high risk of progressing to diabetes, were also at increased risk .

The study is reported online in the journal Circulation.