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Heart Attacks Declining in U.S. Diabetics

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People with diabetes seem to be taking better care of themselves. Between 1950 and 1995, there was a 50 percent drop in the rate of heart attacks and strokes among diabetic patients, researchers report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

However, people with diabetes are still twice as likely to experience such events as people without diabetes. The findings are based on an analysis of data from subjects in the original and offspring groups of the Framingham Heart Study. The “earlier” (1950 to 1966) period involved 4005 non-diabetics and 113 individuals with diabetes. The corresponding figures for the “later” (1977 to 1995) time period were 3746 and 317. Data from the earlier period showed that, if 10,000 diabetics were followed for 1 year, 286 would suffer a heart attack or stroke. In the later period, the number was 147, a reduction of nearly 50 percent, lead author Dr. Caroline S. Fox, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues report. In patients without diabetes, the number fell from 85 heart attacks 10,000 individual per year per in the earlier period to 54 in the later period, a reduction of 35 percent. Despite the encouraging trend seen for diabetics, they remained twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke as non-diabetics. The researchers conclude that “both aggressive treatment of conventional (heart) disease risk factors and further research on diabetes-specific factors contributing to (heart) disease risk are needed to further reduce the high absolute risk of (heart) disease still experienced by persons with diabetes.” (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association: Reuters Health: November 2004.)

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Posted On: 25 November, 2004
Modified On: 4 December, 2013

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