Diabetes and heart attack is a very dangerous combination

In a new study, researchers found after a heart attack, patients with diabetes are at greater risk of heart failure and subsequent death than those without diabetes.

The research was conducted by a team from the European Hospital Georges Pompidou in France.

Diabetes is a growing public health concern. High blood sugar levels slowly attack the artery walls and facilitate deposits of cholesterol.

The ensuing lipid-rich plaques can block arteries in the heart, brain, and legs, raising the risks of heart attack, stroke, and claudication with possible amputation.

In theory, high blood glucose levels may impair the capacity of heart cells to contract and propel blood throughout the body, leading to heart failure.

However, whether patients with diabetes are at greater risk of developing heart failure when suffering a heart attack has not been extensively studied.

The study used data from nationwide surveys carried out in France between 2005 and 2015 in 12,660 patients hospitalized for a heart attack.

The researchers analyzed whether diabetic patients were more likely than non-diabetic patients to develop heart failure during their hospital stay and in the year after.

In patients with diabetes, they compared five-year mortality in those readmitted for nonfatal heart failure during the year following their heart attack versus those who did not develop heart failure.

The team found nearly 25% of patients hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction during the ten-year period had known diabetes (3,114 of 12,660 patients).

This figure is consistent with what most cardiologists have found among their heart attack patients and illustrates how common diabetes is.

During hospitalization for a heart attack, 56% of patients with diabetes developed heart failure compared to 17% of patients without diabetes.

Those with diabetes had a 56% higher risk than those without of developing heart failure.

Likewise, in those who survived the heart attack, 5.1% of diabetic patients were hospitalized for nonfatal heart failure in the following year compared to 1.8% of non-diabetic patients.

This equated to a 44% raised risk of heart failure in those with diabetes.

The findings emphasize the importance of preventing diabetes with better lifestyles, including avoiding obesity and overweight with a healthy diet and being physically active.

The team says in patients with diabetes, and especially those with coronary artery disease or previous heart attack, treatments that reduce blood sugar and decrease the risk of heart failure are very important.

One author of the study is Professor Nicolas Danchin of the European Hospital Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.

The study was presented at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

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