New Study Indicates Diabetic Testing for Heart Patients
Oftentimes those with diabetes are at higher risk for developing heart disease, but a recent report from Austria shows an interesting reversal of this trend. More than 20 percent of heart disease patents that participated in the study went on to develop diabetes.
The study followed more than 500 people during a 7.5-year timeframe who had heart disease, but did not have a diagnosis of diabetes. During the 7.5-year term, more than 21 percent of these patients went on to develop diabetes, nearly 3 percent per year. Those with severe heart disease were 10 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those who were classified as having less extensive heat disease.
The findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes by Dr. Christoph Saely, MD, of the Academic Teaching Hospital in Feldkirch, Austria. He said of the study:
"We conclude that albeit apparently not causally related to diabetes incidence, the presence of coronary artery disease indicates a strongly increased risk for incident diabetes. Repeated diabetes screening of coronary patients and targeted programs to prevent diabetes in these high-risk patients are warranted."
While none of these patients were diagnosed with diabetes at the study’s onset, many had other risk factors for the disease, such as metabolic syndrome.
Other physicians at the Association’s event were impressed by the innovation of the work of the Austrian researchers. Dr. Erik Ingelsson, MD, PhD, moderated the discussion. He said, "Their hypothesis was that cardiovascular disease was a risk factor for developing diabetes – which is the reverse of what we usually think about -- that is, that diabetes is a risk for cardiovascular disease."
Doctors Working Together
These and other findings suggest that endocrinologists and cardiologists may benefit patients by working closely together. In a German study, women who were diagnosed with diabetes during the course of treatment of a heart attack were three times more likely to die within three years following the diagnosis. Dr. Diethelm Tschoepe also reported these findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. He and his colleges are "working in a place where endocrinologists, cardiac surgeons, and cardiologists work together, but it is still a tough fight to get every patient tested."