Diabetic retinopathy is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus

Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, # 62, Yeoido-dong, Yeoung deungpo-gu, Seoul 150-713, Republic of Korea.
Diabetes research and clinical practice (Impact Factor: 2.54). 12/2010; 91(2):253-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2010.11.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We aimed to evaluate the association between diabetic microangiopathy and subclinical atherosclerosis as a marker of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
A total of 142 newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics who were free from CVD underwent evaluation of diabetic microangiopathy. Subclinical atherosclerosis was assessed by measuring carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), and the 10-year absolute risk of CVD was estimated using the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Risk Engine.
Subclinical atherosclerosis was found in 27 subjects (19.0%). The rates of hypertension and diabetic retinopathy were significantly higher among patients with subclinical atherosclerosis. The UKPDS 10-year risk for CVD was significantly increased in subjects with subclinical atherosclerosis. Old age, hypertension and the presence of diabetic retinopathy showed a significant association to subclinical atherosclerosis after further adjustments for gender, body mass index, smoking status, HbA1c, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and the presence of diabetic nephropathy.
This study shows that diabetic retinopathy is an independent risk marker for subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. We suggest that a diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy may warrant a more careful cardiovascular assessment even in the early stages of diabetes.

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