London: Having diabetes doubles the risk of developing a wide range of blood vessel diseases, including heart attacks and different types of stroke, researchers in Cambridge have found.
Diabetes is now estimated to be responsible for 1 in every 10 deaths from cardiovascular disease, or about 325,000 cardiovascular deaths per year in all industrialised countries
The results come from an analysis of 700,000 people by
an international consortium led by Dr Nadeem Sarwar and
Professor John Danesh of the University of Cambridge.
The report is published in this week`s Lancet and the
findings underscore the need to prevent diabetes in the face
of increasing rates worldwide, a university release said.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death
globally, responsible for about 17 million deaths every year.
Diabetes has long been recognised as a major risk
factor for cardiovascular disease, but the extent of its
effect on different blood vessel diseases has been debated.
It has also been uncertain how much of the effect of
diabetes on blood vessel diseases is due to higher levels of
blood fats, blood pressure, and obesity.
The new study involved a combined analysis of
individual records on 700,000 people, each of whom was
monitored for about a decade in 102 surveys conducted in 25
The findings show that having diabetes approximately
doubles the risk of a wide range of blood vessel diseases.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, only a small part of
the effects of diabetes was explained by blood fats, blood
pressure, and obesity.
This finding suggests that diabetes may exert its
harmful effects via additional routes.
According to Dr Sarwar: "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 study also found that in people without diabetes
higher-than-average fasting blood glucose levels were only
weakly related to subsequent development of heart attack or
This finding argues against using information on blood
glucose levels to help identify people at higher risk of heart
attack or stroke.
Dr Sarwar added: "Information on age, sex, smoking
habits, blood pressure and blood fats is routinely collected
to assess risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
"Our findings indicate that adding information on
fasting blood glucose levels in people without diabetes does
not provide significant extra help in assessing cardiovascular