Researchers have identified a link between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular health issues — even in people with optimally controlled cardiovascular risk factors.

In a new study, scientists have discovered a link between type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, even for people who optimally control the common risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The research, which appears in the journal Circulation, suggests that early treatment of people with type 2 diabetes for cardiovascular disease may significantly reduce cardiovascular events and mortality.

Type 2 diabetes and heart health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 10 people in the United States have diabetes, and of those, 90–95% have type 2 diabetes.

The cells of a person with type 2 diabetes do not react to insulin in the way they should. A person’s pancreas produces insulin, which enables the sugar carried by the bloodstream to enter the cells of the body.

Because blood sugar is not being removed from a person’s bloodstream, their blood sugar levels can increase to dangerous levels. According to the CDC, this can cause vision loss, kidney disease, and heart disease.

Researchers have shown that having type 2 diabetes increases a person’s risk of developing both non-fatal and fatal forms of cardiovascular disease.

Studies also state that people with type 2 diabetes who optimally control common cardiovascular risk factors can reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular events. The authors of the new Circulation study cite research showing that this may prolong a person’s life by up to 8 years.

According to the CDC, risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, an unhealthy diet, low physical activity, and diabetes.

Researchers suggest that people who optimally manage their cardiovascular risk factors could completely negate the associated risk between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In the present article, the researchers wanted to see if this latter study’s findings, conducted with a Swedish population, were reproducible in a population from the United Kingdom.

According to Dr. Alison Wright, first author of the study and research associate at the Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety at the University of Manchester, U.K., “[p]revious studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes had little or no excess risk of cardiovascular disease events or death when all risk factors are optimally controlled.”

“Our team sought to determine how the degree of risk factor control in people with type 2 diabetes impacted cardiovascular disease risk and mortality, compared to people with type 2 diabetes who had all risk factors optimally controlled and to people who do not have type 2 diabetes.”

Medical reference: Medical News Today