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Study Finds Diabetes to be a 'Strong' Risk Factor for Sudden Cardiac Death

Nov 19, 2005 | According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, diabetes is a serious risk factor for sudden cardiac death with the danger escalating as the diabetes becomes more severe.

Researchers looked at individuals enrolled in the Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound to determine the link between blood sugar level, diabetes, and the increased risk of sudden cardiac death. 

The study included 2,040 subjects with a range of diabetic conditions such as borderline diabetes, diabetes without disease of the small blood vessels, and diabetes with disease of the small blood vessels. 

These individuals experienced heart attacks between 1980 and 1994.  There was also a control group consisting of 3,800 individuals without diabetes.

The research team found that there was a decidedly higher risk of sudden cardiac death associated with people with diabetes.  Those with borderline diabetes were 24% more likely to experience sudden cardiac death than people without diabetes. 

Individuals with diabetes without disease of the small blood vessels were 73% more likely to experience cardiac death, while people with diabetes with disease of the small blood vessels were a staggering 266% more likely to experience this potentially fatal health risk.

This information indicates that the relationship between diabetes and sudden cardiac death may involve heart disease, atherosclerosis, or a combination of the two.  High blood sugar levels can cause small blood vessel disease without visible symptoms, possibly leading to a greater risk of sudden cardiac death as well.

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