WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — About half of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have a very high risk for fatal cardiovascular (CV) events, according to a research letter published online Nov. 13 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Ana M. Cebrián-Cuenca, M.D., Ph.D., from the Servicio Murciano de Salud in Cartagena, Spain, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study using data for 373,185 patients with T2DM to classify CV risk. Patients were classified in risk categories according to recent guidelines.

The researchers found that for many patients with T2DM, the risk for fatal CV events was very high (53.4 percent). This observation was more pronounced for men than women (55.6 versus 50.7 percent). A large proportion (55.9 percent) of women with T2DM at very high risk did not show established cardiovascular disease (CVD). Prior CVD was seen in about one in four patients with T2DM (26.7 percent). Most patients (92.95 percent) had a high or very high risk for fatal CV events; more than one-third of those T2DM patients without established CVD had very high CV risk (36.4 percent) and should be considered “coronary artery disease”-equivalent patients.

“The most striking result of our study was that the vast majority of patients (93 percent) had a high or very high risk of fatal events within a decade,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Half of patients in the very high-risk group had no history of heart disease, meaning they would not be receiving medications to prevent heart attacks and strokes.”

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