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Heart Problems Fall in People With Diabetes

50% Fewer Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Heart Disease-Related Deaths Among People With Diabetes

WebMD Health News

Nov. 23, 2004 -- The number of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease-related deaths reported among people with diabetes has fallen by nearly 50% in the last several decades, according to a new study.

Although people with diabetes have a much higher risk of heart disease, researchers say the study shows that people with diabetes have also benefited from the overall decline in heart disease in the U.S. since 1950.

Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease-related death. Obesity, which is closely related to diabetes, further increases these risks.

Heart Problems Drop

In the study, which appears in the Nov. 24 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers compared the rates of heart disease in two sets of adults aged 45 to 64. The first group participated in the original Framingham Heart Study from 1950 to 1966, and the second group consisted of their offspring who participated from 1977 to 1995.

Of the two groups, 113 and 317 in the earlier and later time periods had diabetes, respectively.

The study showed the rate of heart problems, including heart attack, stroke, and heart disease-related death, dropped by nearly 50% from the first study period to the second.

Researchers say adults without diabetes experienced a 35% reduction in risk for heart problems during this time period.

They say the results show that while people with diabetes have benefited from the overall reduction in heart disease risk during the last several decades, there is still much room for improvement in lowering the elevated risk of heart problems among people with diabetes.

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