Risk of Stroke Doubles if Diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes

June 2007 - Individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are at double the risk of having a stroke compared to those without diabetes, according to new research from the University of Alberta. It was found that the risk of a stroke is considered high within the first five years of treatment for Type 2 diabetes and more than doubles the rate of occurrence.

For this study, the researchers entered 12,272 subjects into a Type 2 diabetes cohort. All subjects were recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and had a mean age of 64 years. After five years of monitoring, stroke incidence rates were compared between the cohort and the general population.

"What we found is that 9.1 per cent of the diabetes cohort had a stroke within the first five years of their diagnosis," Dr. Thomas Jeerakathil, an assistant professor in neurology, at the University of Alberta. "We also found that compared to persons from the general population of a similar age, the relative risk for stroke was much greater in younger persons with diabetes than for older persons.

As it has been more common to study stroke prevalence within 10 years after diagnosis, this is the first study to specifically examine stroke-related outcomes immediately after the diagnosis of and initiation of treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

Jeerakathil indicates it is possible that physicians are undertreating stroke risks because of a prevailing attitude among physicians and patients that the cardiovascular complications of diabetes occur long after diagnosis rather than in the first five years.

"We hope our findings will help to dispel the notion that the risk of stroke occurs only in the long term and will improve the motivation of both patients and health care providers to aggressively control cardiovascular risk factors soon after diagnosis." said Jeerakathil.

The research recently appeared in the American Heart Association's Stroke journal.

Source: University of Alberta