Diabetes ups stroke risk significantly in under 65s

Tue, 07 May 2013
People with diabetes under the age of 65 are up to 12-times more likely to have a stroke compared to non-diabetic individuals of a similar age, researchers in America have revealed.

A study conducted by Jane C. Khoury, of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues found that patients with diabetes remain at greatly increased risk for ischemic stroke at all ages.

However, the risk was highest among patients aged 65 years and younger (up to a 12-fold increase in risk compared to a 2- to 3-fold elevated risk for over 65s).

One reason for the larger increase in younger patients is that these individuals do not have as many other risk factors for stroke, so the presence of diabetes makes a huge difference.

"By the time patients get to their 70s, more other risk factors come into play so the individual effect of diabetes may not be so great," Khoury explained.

An excess risk for ischemic stroke was reported in both white and black diabetic patients of any age. However, the researchers found that while the excess stroke risk associated with diabetes appears to be declining over time in the black population, it is remaining stable among whites.

Dr. Khoury concluded: "Our data show that diabetes is a very important preventable ischemic stroke risk factor.

"We need to make sure diabetics are well monitored, especially younger diabetics, and any other risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, smoking, and AF [atrial fibrillation], are corrected in these patients. And this is another reason to be vigilant on diabetic control."

The research was published online in the journal Stroke.
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