Young adults with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, with greater risks for women than men, according to a new study.
While the news is a warning, patients should be reassured that keeping good control of blood glucose levels, eating healthily and getting regular physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In this new study, Dr Trevor Orchard and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health evaluated data on 502 adults aged 45 years or younger who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as children.
The participants were followed up on either between the ages of 30-39 or 40-44 years, with researchers determining mortality and cardiovascular disease rates.
Compared with the background population, participants had a 7.8 times higher total rate of cardiovascular disease.
“Total mortality, CVD mortality and hospitalized CVD events remain significantly increased in this U.S. contemporary cohort of young adults [younger than] 45 years old with long-duration [type 1 diabetes] compared with the background population,” said the study authors.
“As has been consistently demonstrated across international studies, the relative increase in risk is greater for women than for men. These findings support the need for more aggressive CVD risk-factor management, including statin therapy for young adults with long-standing [type 1 diabetes].”
People with diabetes have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, stroke and hypertension.
While the researchers advise statin therapy, research suggests that keeping to a healthy lifestyle is the strongest and most reliable way to improve your heart health.
Having a diet based around real food, such as fish, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables, plus avoiding alcohol and smoking will have a more significant effect than medication alone.
The findings of this study were published in Diabetes Care.

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