Proper treatment and refraining from smoking can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease resulting from Type 2 diabetes, a new Swedish study finds.
In some cases, researchers found increased risks could theoretically be eliminated.
“This is definitely good news,” says Dr. Aidin Rawshani, from the Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden, and one of the authors of the study.
“Patients with Type 2 diabetes with all risk factors within therapeutic target range had an extremely low risk of premature death, heart attack, and stroke,” he says.
The study is based on data from the Swedish National Diabetes Register of approximately 300,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes. The patients were compared with up to five times as many gender-and age-matched control subjects from the general population.
The results show that there are individuals with Type 2 diabetes who have no more than just ten percent elevated risk of premature death, heart attack and stroke compared to the general population. The risk for heart failure in this group is 45 percent higher than in the control group.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are individuals with Type 2 diabetes that have ten times the risk for heart attack, heart failure, and stroke and five times the risk for premature death compared to the control group.
A crucial aspect is how well a number of risk factors are controlled with medication and by not smoking. These factors are blood pressure, long-term blood glucose, lipid status (fats and fat-like substances in the blood), renal function and smoking.
Smoking proved to be the most important risk factor for premature death, while elevated blood glucose level was the most dangerous factor for heart attack and stroke.
“By optimizing these five risk factors, all of which can be influenced, you can come a long way,” Rawshani says.
“We have shown that the risks can be greatly reduced, and in some cases may even be eliminated,” he adds.
The study also shows that the risk of complications, especially heart failure, is greatest among those under 55 years. This makes it extra important to check and treat risk factors if you are younger with Type 2 diabetes, Rawshani advises.
The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.