Diabetes nearly doubles the chance of suffering heart disease or stroke and is strongly associated with disorders linked to the health of blood vessels, according to a study.
In industrialised countries, diabetes is thought to be responsible for one in 10 deaths, or about 325,000 a year, from heart disease, but only a small fraction of the effects of diabetes can be explained by high levels of blood fats, blood pressure, and obesity, the Cambridge University led research showed.
It suggests diabetes may harm blood vessels in other ways.
Scientists also found higher than average blood sugar levels in people without diabetes were only weakly related to cardiovascular disease.
Dr Nadeem Sarwar, one of the Cambridge scientists, said: “Our findings highlight the need for better prevention of diabetes coupled with greater investigation of the mechanisms by which diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
The research, which analysed data 102 studies in 25 countries involving 700,000 participants, appears in The Lancet medical journal.