Risk of heart problems among diabetic patients less than previously thought

Patients with type 2 diabetes are at lower risk of death and hospital admission for heart attack than patients with established coronary heart disease, finds a study in this week’s BMJ.

These results challenge the widely held view that patients with diabetes have as high a risk of cardiovascular events and death as non-diabetic patients who have had a heart attack, and therefore have important implications for clinical practice.

Researchers in Dundee carried out two studies involving over 4,600 patients with type 2 diabetes and over 8,700 patients with established coronary heart disease. In both studies, the risk of death and hospital admission was higher in patients who had suffered a heart attack compared with the diabetic patients.

“Our results have important implications for clinical practice, in that we should be cautious about basing treatment decisions on individual risk factors for cardiovascular disease in isolation,” conclude the authors.

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