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Diabetes Increases Risk of Cardiovasular Events by 30%

Diabetes was associated with a 30% increased risk of developing cardiovascular conditions, including heart disease and stroke….

It has been known that inflammatory arthritis is associated with cardiovascular disease, but a new study in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders suggests that diabetes mellitus is also linked to cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke.

The study led by Markus M.J. Nielen of Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research and colleagues showed that cardiovascular disease prevalence rates were significantly higher in patients with inflammatory arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and osteoarthritis, compared to controls.

Enlisted in the study were 1,518 cases of inflammatory arthritis, 11,959 cases of diabetes mellitus, 4,004 cases of osteoarthritis and 158,439 controls. Data for the study on cardiovascular disease morbidity including myocardial infarction, transient ischemic attack, and or stroke/cerebrovascular incident came from the Netherlands Information Network of General Practice.

Without adjustment for confounders like age, gender, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, all three medical conditions were significantly associated with higher cardiovascular disease prevalence rates.

However, the increase in the risk for cardiovascular disease was attenuated, particularly in diabetes mellitus, but remained statistically significant after adjustment for the named confounders. That is, inflammatory arthritis was linked with 50 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus with 30 percent higher risk of this disease. Interestingly, the association between osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease was reversed after adjustment, that is, having osteoarthritis was associated with 20 percent lower risk for cardiovascular disease.

The researchers concluded, "These results confirm an increased prevalence rate of CVD in inflammatory arthritis to levels resembling diabetes mellitus. By contrast, lack of excess CVD in osteoarthritis further suggests that the systemic inflammatory load is critical to the CVD burden in inflammatory arthritis."

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, Aug. 2012