Background: Despite the numerous studies on the relation of albuminuria with increased risk of all-cause mortality in type 2 diabetes mellitus, it remains uncertain whether microalbuminuria and/or gross proteinuria are independent risk factors for cardiovascular mortality. Moreover, the association of albuminuria with cardiovascular mortality in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus has not been well described in US populations.
Objective: To estimate the relative risks (RRs) for the associations of microalbuminuria and gross proteinuria with cardiovascular disease mortality among persons with older-onset diabetes mellitus.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of 840 people with older-onset diabetes mellitus who provided urine samples in the 1984-1986 examination of a population-based study of diabetic persons. The presence of microalbuminuria was determined by an agglutination inhibition assay and gross proteinuria by a reagent strip. The main outcome was time to mortality from cardiovascular disease, as determined from death certificates.
Results: Of the 840 older-onset diabetic persons, 54.8% had normoalbuminuria, while 24.8% had microalbuminuria and 20.5% had gross proteinuria. During the 12-year follow-up (6127 person-years), we identified 364 deaths from cardiovascular disease. Compared with persons with normoalbuminuria, those with microalbuminuria and gross proteinuria had significantly higher risks of cardiovascular mortality. The RR as controlled for age, sex, glycemic control, insulin use, alcohol intake, physical activity, cardiovascular disease history, antihypertensive use, and retinopathy severity, was 1.84 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.42-2.40) for those with microalbuminuria and 2.61 (95% CI, 1.99-3.43) for those with gross proteinuria. Further adjustment for other factors did not change the relations we found. When the end point used was mortality from coronary heart disease, stroke, or all causes, the increased risks were significant for both microalbuminuria (adjusted RRs [95% CIs], 1.96 [1.42-2.72], 2.20 [1.29-3.75], and 1.68 [1.35-2.09], respectively) and gross proteinuria (adjusted RRs [95% CIs], 2.73 [1.95-3.81], 2.33 [1.28-4.24], and 2.47 [1.97-3.10], respectively).
Conclusions: Results from our population-based study strongly suggest that both microalbuminuria and gross proteinuria were significantly associated with subsequent mortality from all causes and from cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and coronary heart diseases. These associations were independent of known cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes-related variables.