World Health Day: Heart patients thrice more susceptible to diabetes, major research finds

Siliguri, India: A major study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology -- a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) -- released on World Health Day, found almost 30% of patients with coronary artery disease have diabetes (ESC).  

This data is in comparison to the prevalence of diabetes of about 9% among the general population.

There was wide geographical variation, with 60% of heart disease patients in Gulf countries having diabetes compared to 20% in Europe, the European Society of Cardiology says in a release. 

Study author Dr. Emmanuelle Vidal-Petiot of Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital, Paris, France said obesity and lack of exercise are common risk factors for both diabetes and heart disease, and that their findings illustrate the urgent need to improve diet and increase activity levels globally.

 Countries with the highest rates of diabetes are also at the epicenter of the obesity crisis, which can be due in part to urbanization and related changes in physical activity and food intake, she said. 

Diabetes linked to adverse heart ailments

The analysis of the CLARIFY registry included 32,694 patients with chronic coronary syndromes from 45 countries in America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.

These patients got registered in 2009 and 2010, and for the next five years they followed up annually.

The study's adverse health effects occurred more frequently among heart patients with diabetes than in those without diabetes, the results found.

When the researchers compared the probability of poor outcomes in those with diabetes and those without, they modified the analyses for various factors that could affect the relationship, such as age, sex, smoking status, BMI, blood pressure, drugs, and other conditions.

After these changes, they found that among patients with stable coronary artery disease, those with diabetes had a higher death risk of 38% over a five-year follow-up.

The chances of heart attack, stroke, or dying due to cardiovascular disease were also high. 

Regardless of geographic area or ethnicity, the results of heart patients with diabetes were worse than those without diabetes.

Management is the key

“Diabetes was linked with worse outcomes even in areas with the lowest prevalence. In Europe, for instance, diabetes was linked with a 29% greater risk of the combined outcome of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death," said Dr. Vidal-Petiot.

She added: "This indicates that management of these very high-risk patients with heart disease and diabetes should be improved. Each country needs to identify these patients and provide tailored educational and prevention programs.” 

The value of healthy eating and living cannot be overstated, Dr. Petiot concluded.

Everyone can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by losing weight and exercising, and early detection is important for blood sugar control, she said. 

To protect their health, people with heart disease and diabetes must maintain an active lifestyle and eat a healthy diet. Avoiding smoking, as well as monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels, is critical.

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