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Having Diabetes Increases The Risk of Dying From Heart Attack, Study Says

Jun 23, 2016 05:54 AM EDT
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Having diabetes raises the risk of dying from heart attack, a new study suggested.

According to researchers at the University of Leeds, people who have diabetes are 56 percent more likely to die if they would experience heart attack.

In the study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers tracked 700,000 people who were admitted to the hospital due to heart attack between January 2003 and June 2013. Of the total number of patients, 121,000 had diabetes.

They found that people who have diabetes were 56 percent more likely to have died if they experienced an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attack - a condition where the coronary artery is completely blocked - than those without diabetes.

Diabetics also have a 39 percent risk of dying if they had a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) heart attack, which happens when the artery is partially blocked.

"These results provide robust evidence that diabetes is a significant long-term population burden among patients who have had a heart attack," Chris Gale, consultant cardiologist and associate professor from the University of Leeds School of Medicine and lead researcher, said in a news release.

"Although these days people are more likely than ever to survive a heart attack, we need to place greater focus on the long-term effects of diabetes in heart attack survivors," he added.

Gale also said that the next step in their research is to find out exactly what it is about having diabetes that causes heart attack death.

"The partnership between cardiologists, GPs and diabetologists needs to be strengthened and we need to make sure we are using established medications as effectively as possible among high-risk individuals," Gale said.

According to Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which funded the study, it is common knowledge that people who suffer from heart attack are less likely to survive if they have diabetes.

"However, we did not know if this observation was due to having diabetes or having other conditions which are commonly seen in people with diabetes. This paper is the first to conclusively show that the adverse effect on survival is linked to having diabetes, rather than other conditions people with diabetes may suffer from," he said.

According to Anna Morris, head of research funding at Diabetes UK, the key is for people to manage diabetes effectively to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases through eating healthy, keeping active and taking doctor-prescribed medication. 

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