One-Third of Adults With Diabetes may have Undetected Cardiovascular Disease, New Research Finds
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Baptist Health Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute
New research published by the American Heart Association finds that 1 in 3 adults with type 2 diabetes may have undetected cardiovascular disease.
Researchers determined that elevated levels of two protein biomarkers indicating heart damage were associated with undetected or symptomless cardiovascular disease in adults with diabetes, compared to those without diabetes.
The new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, confirms that many adults with diabetes who have not had a heart attack or a history of cardiovascular disease are at high risk for cardiovascular complications, explains Adedapo Iluyomade, M.D., a preventive cardiologist with the Cardiometabolic Clinic at Baptist Health Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with diabetes. Statistically, those with diabetes have between twice and four times the risk of dying from coronary artery disease and stroke, previous studies have found.
The Institute’s Cardiometabolic Clinic is the first – and, so far, only – program of its kind in South Florida. It takes a multidisciplinary approach to addressing a wide range of risk factors, particularly among patients with diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
“The new study confirms that we’re at the forefront of this new field,” said Dr. Iluyomade, M.D. “This is a very new subspecialty within cardiology. Diabetes-associated cardiovascular disease requires a multidisciplinary team. And even diabetics who may not show symptoms or other signs of heart disease may be at risk.”
Researchers analyzed health data and blood samples for more than 10,300 adults collected as part of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2004. They used stored blood samples from all study participants to measure levels of two cardiac biomarkers.
One-third (33.4 percent) of adults with type 2 diabetes had signs of undetected cardiovascular disease, as indicated by elevated levels of the two protein markers, compared to only 16 percent of those without diabetes, the new study found.
“It is vital for those with diabetes to find out their risk levels for cardiovascular disease, and this study reaffirms the need for more multidisciplinary approaches such as the Cardiometabolic Clinic, where patients are guided in managing all underlying health risks,” said Dr. Iluyomade.
Patients with diabetes should discuss their cardiovascular risks with their physicians, he adds.
“It's very easy for primary care providers, or for any physician, to request a consult with our cardiometabolic program,” said Dr. Iluyomade. “We rely on cardiologists and on primary care physicians to help identify patients who would benefit from our program. But the initiative can also come from patients.”
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