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Research suggests that people under age 50 who have diabetes have a seven-times higher risk of succumbing to sudden cardiac death compared to nondiabetics.*
Sudden cardiac death occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions and the organ suddenly stops.
The 10-year Danish study looked at the medical records of all Danes in two groupings: those between the ages of 1 and 35 in 2000-2009 and those between the ages of 36 to 49 in 2007-2009. Out of 14,000 deaths, 5% were diabetic—about 500 had type I diabetes and about 200 had type II diabetes.
The results showed people with type II diabetes had a five-times higher risk of cardiac death and those with type I diabetes had a 12-times higher risk.
Moreover, diabetics were found to have an eight-times higher risk of dying from heart disease of any kind.
Chief Cardiologist Dr. James Catanese of Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., was not surprised by the finding of higher risk in itself, but the amount of risk surprised him. “A seven- or eight-times higher risk is astounding, particularly in people below age 50,” he said.
Editor’s Note: Copenhagen University Hospital medical student and lead author Jesper Svane remarked, “It is important that healthcare providers are aware that young patients with diabetes have an elevated risk of mortality and that this is mainly explained by an increased risk of cardiac death.”
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