Death from Heart Attack Surges Over 50 Percent in Diabetic Sufferers

According to a new study performed by investigators from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, the possibility of death from heart attack could increase by over 50% for individuals with diabetes.

As per  the American Diabetes Association, roughly 29.1 million individuals in the America have diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. It occurs when the body is not able to use the hormone insulin properly, leading to abnormal blood glucose levels.

Type 1 diabetes, which makes up about 5 % of all diabetes cases, occurs when the body is not able to produce insulin.

It is well recognized that individuals with diabetes are at much higher risk for various other health issues, which includes high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.

For the new research, lead investigator Dr. Chris Gale and colleagues set out to research the long lasting threat of death from heart attack, or myocardial infarction, among individuals with diabetes – a risk that has formerly been not clear.

The results were recently presented in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

STEMI heart attack death risk 56 % higher with diabetes

The study team examined the data of 703,920 people from the U.K. acute myocardial infarction registry, of whom about 121,000 had diabetes.

A total of 281,259 sufferers had experienced an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) – explained as a “classic” heart attack, where an electrocardiogram (ECG) demonstrates a complete blockage of the coronary artery, resulting in damage to a large area of the heart.

The other 422,661 sufferers had experienced a non-STEMI heart attack, where the coronary artery is partly blocked.

The investigators matched the data from these sufferers with that of the general population of England and Wales, to be able to evaluate the risk of heart attack death in individuals with and without diabetes.

In comparison with people without diabetes, the team identified that those with diabetes were at 56 % higher risk of death from a STEMI heart attack and at 39 % greater risk of death from a non-STEMI heart attack.

These outcomes remained following accounting for a number of possibly confounding factors, like patients’ age, sex, other illnesses, and variations in emergency medical therapy.

Dr. Gale states that the study offers “robust proof that diabetes is a considerable long-term population problem among sufferers who have had a heart attack.”

“Even though these days individuals are more probably than ever to survive a heart attack, we have to place greater emphasis on the long lasting effects of diabetes in heart attack survivors.

The collaboration between cardiologists, GPs and diabetologists requires to be strengthened and we have to ensure that we are using established medications as efficiently as possible among high-risk people.”

Dr. Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation – which backed the study – states that even though it was recognized that individuals with diabetes were at higher risk of death from heart attack, these results demonstrate this enhanced risk is because of diabetes itself, instead of other co-existing circumstances.

“This study illustrates the need to discover new methods to prevent coronary heart disease in individuals with diabetes and develop new therapies to enhance survival after a heart attack,” he adds.

In future studies, the investigators intend to research the hidden mechanisms that might describe why diabetes increases the risk of death from heart attack.