A 5-year Danish study of >3 million individuals found that patients with diabetes face the same heart attack or stroke risk as patients who have already survived a heart attack, according to a report in the March 31, 2008, issue of Circulation.
The researchers found that men with diabetes were 2.32 times more likely than normal to have a heart attack, stroke, or die from heart disease, compared with 2.48 times the odds for men who survived a heart attack. The findings were based on patients with diabetes who were taking glucose-lowering medication and were selected from national registries that cover nearly every patient in Denmark.
Study author Tina Ken Schramm, MD, recommended that all patients with diabetes taking glucose-lowering medications should ask their physicians about taking other drug therapies to protect their hearts.
A group of international researchers have identified 6 more genetic variants involved in type 2 diabetes, bringing the total number of genetic risk factors linked with the increased risk of the disease to 16.
The analysis, reported online March 31, 2008, in Nature Genetics, combined the genetic data from >70,000 individuals. When looked at individually, the genetic variants identified to date account for only small differences in the odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers said, however, that when all the variants are combined, some major differences in the risk are likely to surface.
?By combining information from the large number of genes now implicated in diabetes risk, it may be possible to use genetic tools to identify people at unusually high or low risk of diabetes,? said David Altshuler,MD, PhD, a senior author of the study.
Whereas the news on diabetes seems more discouraging, health care experts said that the diabetes battle can be won if individuals decide what is best for themselves and their families. Federal projections predict that, by 2050, 48 million Americans will have type 2 diabetes.
?Studies have suggested that, for the first time in history, the generation of people born in 2000 is probably going to have shorter life expectancy than their parents,? said Sue Kirkman, MD, vice president of clinical affairs for the American Diabetes Association. ?That?s attributable to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.?
Medicines are only part of the solution. A better approach may be drastic changes to American lifestyles, beginning with improved diets and more exercise, to prevent diabetes in the first place. ?The statistics are pretty gloomy, but we also know people who are at risk for diabetes can do a lot to prevent it from coming on,? said Dr. Kirkman.
A study, reported in the April 2008 issue of Diabetes Care, showed that patients with diabetes may have their lungs deteriorate faster than normal. The team that conducted the research, part of a larger analysis known as the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, found in earlier research that reduced lung function predicted and preceded the development of type 2 diabetes.
In the current study, the John Hopkins researchers found an average difference of 6 mm more decline per year in forced vital capacity (FVC), which measures how well the lungs fill with air. The researchers suggested that faster reduction in FVC seen in patients with diabetes could be the result of high blood sugar levels stiffening lung tissue or fatty tissue in the chest and abdomen hampering the lungs.
The ARIC is a prospective group study of 15,792 adults in 4 US communities. The latest analysis looked at 1100 patients with diabetes and 10,162 patients without the disease and was based on 3 years of follow-up.
Men with diabetes, particularly black men, are more prone to moderate-to-severe lower urinary tract symptoms and frequent nighttime urination. For the study, the researchers examined the associations between diabetes and signs of an enlarged prostate gland, known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
The study included 2484 black and white men who were participating in studies that were evaluating the natural history of BPH. The findings, reported in the March 2008 issue of Diabetes Care, indicated that diabetes significantly raised the risk of symptoms including frequent urination and feelings of urgency.
F A S T F A C T : One of every 5 health care dollars is spent caring for someone with diagnosed diabetes.