NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For people with diabetes, the likelihood of having a major heart-related event is as high as for non-diabetics who've previously suffered a heart attack, Danish researchers report.
The finding, which appears in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, comes from a study of 3.3 million residents of Denmark who were at least 30 years of age. Overall, 2.2 percent of subjects had diabetes and 2.4 percent had a prior heart attack.
Dr. Tina Ken Schramm and colleagues found that, compared with men without diabetes or a prior heart attack, those with diabetes were 2.32-times more likely to experience a stroke, heart attack or death from cardiovascular causes, and those with a prior heart attack were 2.48-times more likely.
For women, the corresponding risks were raised 2.48- and 2.71-times.
Furthermore, when people with diabetes do have a heart attack, "they are twice as likely to die as non-diabetics," Schramm said in a statement.
Diabetic patients should be given statins and other medications that have been shown to help prevent cardiovascular events in this group, the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: Circulation, April 15, 2008.