Newly diagnosed diabetes increases risk of heart attack, stroke even among statin users

May 18, 2016 by Lisa M. Larson, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Postmenopausal women with newly diagnosed diabetes have a significantly increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease whether or not they take statin drugs, according to the results of a new study led by researchers at UMass Medical School and published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Statin therapy decreases events, which includes heart attack, coronary heart disease deaths and stroke in people with and without existing . However, use also increases risk of new-onset diabetes. In this study, researchers hypothesized that new clinical diabetes related to statin use may be milder on atherosclerotic .

"Our findings did not support this hypothesis, as we discovered that statin-related diabetes is no different from diabetes developed outside statin use in its significant impact on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease " said Yunsheng Ma, MD, PhD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and corresponding author of the study. "The results underscore the importance of prevention, monitoring and detection of diabetes among post-menopausal women, including those who take statin medication."

Given the increasing prevalence of diabetes among older adults and the projected growth of this patient population, researchers sought to compare the impact of newly diagnosed diabetes on atherosclerotic for patients according to whether they used statins. Using data from the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative, researchers examined the health histories of more than 120,000 postmenopausal women who had neither diabetes nor cardiovascular disease at the start of the 15-year study period. Participants' statin use was determined at enrollment and during the course of the study, as were atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, such as heart attack and stroke after diabetes diagnosis.

For those not on statins at the time of diabetes diagnosis, there was a 42 percent increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease among women with newly diagnosed diabetes versus those without diabetes. Among women on statins, there was a 39 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women with new onset diabetes vs. those without diabetes. The increased atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease was similar between women with new diabetes before or after initiating statins.

JoAnn E. Manson, MD, a co-author on the study and professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, agreed that diabetes is a concern but cautioned that clinicians and patients should not shy away from statin use due to the diabetes findings. "Statin medications are extremely effective in reducing risks of heart attacks and strokes and, in appropriate candidates for treatment, have a net favorable effect whether or not diabetes is present," she said.

Explore further: Cardiovascular risk tool overestimates actual chance of cardiovascular events

More information: Yunsheng Ma et al. Impact of incident diabetes on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease according to statin use history among postmenopausal women, European Journal of Epidemiology (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s10654-016-0153-7

Related Stories

Cardiovascular risk tool overestimates actual chance of cardiovascular events

May 2, 2016
A widely recommended risk calculator for predicting a person's chance of experiencing a cardiovascular disease event—such as heart attack, ischemic stroke or dying from coronary artery disease—has been found to substantially ...

Statin use in postmenopausal women associated with increased diabetes risk

January 9, 2012
The use of statins in postmenopausal women is associated with increased diabetes risk, according to a study published Online First by the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Cardiovascular benefits of taking statins outweigh diabetes risk

August 9, 2012
The benefits of taking statins to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease outweigh the increased risk of developing diabetes experienced by some patients who take these cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to an Article ...

Statin use differs among Hispanic adults at risk for heart disease

March 30, 2016
In the United States, adults of different Hispanic/Latino backgrounds, at high risk for heart disease, varied significantly in their use of widely-prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins, according to ...

Why are women less likely to be prescribed statins than men?

May 5, 2016
Statins are equally effective at decreasing risk of coronary events in men and women, and yet women are less likely to be prescribed these cholesterol-lowering drugs than men. A study by investigators at Brigham and Women's ...

Diabetes linked to changes in gene behaviour driven by environment

May 17, 2016
Why gestational diabetes leads to type 2 diabetes has baffled medical science for decades, but new research led by Deakin University has shown the answer could be in our genes' ability to change their behaviour due to signals ...

Recommended for you

No sweat required: Team finds hypertension treatment that mimics effect of exercise

October 16, 2018
Couch potatoes rejoice—there might be a way to get the blood pressure lowering benefits of exercise in pill form.

New model suggests cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring possible using pulse waves

October 16, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in China and the U.S. has developed a model that suggests it should be possible to create a cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitor based on measuring pulse waves. ...

Why heart contractions are weaker in those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

October 16, 2018
When a young athlete suddenly dies of a heart attack, chances are high that they suffer from familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Itis the most common genetic heart disease in the US and affects an estimated 1 in 500 ...

Novel genetic study sheds new light on risk of heart attack

October 12, 2018
Loss of a protein that regulates mitochondrial function can greatly increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), Vanderbilt scientists reported Oct. 3 in the journal eLife.

Researchers say ritual for orthodox Jewish men may offer heart benefits

October 11, 2018
A pilot study led by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine suggests Jewish men who practice wearing tefillin, which involves the tight wrapping of an arm with leather banding as part of daily ...

Markers of dairy fat consumption linked to lower risk of type two diabetes

October 10, 2018
Higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research published today in PLOS Medicine. The study, in more than 60,000 adults, was undertaken ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.