Diabetes makes heart attack 50 percent more deadly, study says

Researchers in England suggest more needs to be done to prevent heart disease in diabetes patients.
By Stephen Feller  |  June 22, 2016 at 3:00 PM
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LEEDS, England, June 22 (UPI) -- People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing heart disease, and those who have a heart attack are at significantly greater risk of death than people who do not have diabetes, researchers in England report.

Heart attack patients with diabetes are 50 percent more likely to die from its effects than people who do not have diabetes, researchers at the University of Leeds say in a new study.

The study suggests greater control of diabetes is necessary to prevent heart disease in diabetic patients because of the increased risk for death, researchers say.

"We knew that following a heart attack, you are less likely to survive if you also have diabetes," Dr. Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said in a press release. "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."

For the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, researchers analyzed medical data on 281,259 people who had a ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI, and 422,661 people who had a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, or NSTEMI, in England and Wales between 2003 and 2013.

Overall, 35.8 percent of patients with diabetes died after having a heart attack, compared to 25.3 percent of patients without the condition.

After adjusting for age, sex, other illnesses and treatment for their heart attack, people with diabetes were 56 percent more likely to die if they had a STEMI, which includes total blockage of the coronary artery, and 39 percent more likely to die if they had an NSTEMI, or partial blockage of the coronary artery.

"These results provide robust evidence that diabetes is a significant long-term population burden among patients who have had a heart attack," Dr. Chris Gale, a consultant cardiologist and associate professor at the University of Leeds, said in a press 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."

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