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Issue 121 Item 5 As Cardiovascular Risk Increases So Does the Risk of Diabetes

May 5, 2002

Changes in serum triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, body mass index (BMI) and systolic blood pressure over time are associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Bjarne K. Jacobsen and associates of the University of Troms conducted a prospective study involving 10,070 individuals who were not diagnosed with diabetes when surveyed in 1979/1980 and 1986/1987. By 1994/1995, 73 patients reported a diagnosis of diabetes confirmed by examination of their medical records.

During the interval between the first two surveys, the incident cases of diabetes had experienced a significantly larger drop in age- and sex-adjusted HDL cholesterol, mean 0.19 mmol/L, compared with nondiabetics, 0.08 mmol/L (p = 0.01).

Triglycerides increased by 0.74 mmol/L, BMI rose by 1.41 kg/m , and systolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg during the same time period in the new cases. In comparison, these factors increased by only 0.04 mmol/L (p < 0.001), 0.73 kg/m (p < 0.001) and 0 mm Hg (p = 0.02), respectively, among the nondiabetics.

Dr. Jacobsen’s group observed that, among the approximately 25% of subjects who reportedly reduced their physical activity by the time of the second survey, their risk of diabetes was still lower than that of individuals who had always had low levels of physical activity (odds ratio 0.5, p = 0.03).

"Thus, the subjects with reduced activity between 1979/1980 and 1986/1987 seem to profit from the higher physical activity in the past," the investigators surmise.

J Clin Epidemiol 2002;55:647-653.