Heart disease is a large part of the explanation for why children and young adults with diabetes have a significantly higher mortality rate than their peers without diabetes.
This was demonstrated by researchers from Rigshospitalet in the first nationwide survey on causes of death, focusing on sudden cardiac death among younger people with diabetes.
The risk of sudden cardiac death is seven times higher for diabetics under the age of 50 than for others. The total risk of death is five times greater than the rest of the population.
"Our results show that there is a need for healthcare professionals to have added focus on observing the development of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in diabetes patients, even if the patients are children or young adults," said Jesper Svane, medical student from the Department of Cardiology, who carried out the research project together with Thomas Hadberg Lynge, MD, and Jacob Tfelt-Hansen, Consultant.
The increased risk of death may be due to the fact that blood vessels in diabetics are affected by the condition. Previous studies have shown that intensive efforts targeted at the risk factors of diabetes can have great effect on precisely cardiovascular diseases.
The results were presented at the world's largest cardiovascular congress, the American Heart Association's annual meeting in California, attended by 17,000 cardiologists. The significant results were one of five stories that were selected for presentation to the international media.