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Similar Decline Over Decades in Cardiovascular Disease Rates for People With and Without Diabetes

Embargoed for Release:
November 23, 2004, 4:00 PM EST

People with Diabetes Still Have Twice the Risk

Adults with and without diabetes have benefited similarly from the decline in cardiovascular disease (CVD) rates over the last several decades, according to a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). However the study, which is published in the November 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people with diabetes still have twice the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people without diabetes.

The study evaluated more than 8,000 participants from the Framingham Heart Study original and offspring cohorts. Participants were divided into two groups: those who attended clinic examinations between 1950 and 1966 and those who were examined between 1977 and 1995. Scientists compared the CVD incidence rates of those with and without diabetes between the earlier and later time periods.

More aggressive treatment of CVD risk factors and further research on diabetes-specific factors contributing to CVD risk are needed, conclude the study's authors. This two-pronged approach is necessary to reduce the risk of CVD experienced by people with diabetes, according to Peter Savage, M.D., director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications at NHLBI.

Diabetes is becoming more common in the U.S. due to many factors, including an increase in obesity and in the number of older adults. Diabetes will therefore be an increasingly important cause of cardiovascular disease in the U.S.

Dr. Savage is available to comment on the study. To arrange an interview, please call the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236.

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