Type 2 diabetes may increase risk of second stroke or heart attack, study finds

Individuals with type 2 diabetes who have suffered a heart attack or stroke may be significantly more likely to experience a second cardiovascular event, according to a new study from researchers at Vanderbilt University.

Obesity, which is one of the leading risk factors for type 2 diabetes, is known to make a stroke or heart attack more likely. However, it was not known that diabetes itself can be directly tied to these complications. The new investigation is among the first to establish this connection and to show that diabetes increases the risk of subsequent events.

For the study, the researchers examined the medical records of 4,731 individuals who had suffered either a heart attack or a stroke. They looked for signs of metabolic problems, including weight, cholesterol, blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

The results, which were published in the Archives of Neurology, showed that individuals with type 2 diabetes were significantly more likely to suffer a second cardiovascular event. Those with the metabolic condition were 62 percent more likely to have a stroke, while their odds of a second heart attack rose by 66 percent.

However, those who had metabolic syndrome - a collection of symptoms including high cholesterol and blood pressure, excess body weight and impaired insulin tolerance - showed no signs of being at an increased risk for a second cardiovascular event.

The study also examined the effects of treating these patients with statin medication. This approach showed promising results. The researchers said that these cholesterol-lowering medications may be a viable option for individuals with type 2 diabetes who have already experienced a heart attack or stroke. This could potentially lower their future risk of experiencing a second event.  
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