Aims/hypothesis: We aimed to examine the associations between classic cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes specific factors and the incidence of fatal and non-fatal end-points in a large cohort of diabetic patients.
Methods: A cohort of 4,743 diabetic patients participating in the WHO Multinational Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes (WHO MSVDD) has been followed up for about 12 years and the incidence of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease outcomes assessed.
Results: The importance of blood pressure, serum cholesterol and proteinuria as predictors for cardiovascular disease mortality, fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction and stroke is confirmed for patients with Type I (insulin-dependent) and Type II (non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Serum triglyceride was associated with cardiovascular disease death in Type II diabetes and in women with Type I diabetes and with MI incidence in Type II diabetes and stroke in Type II diabetic women. Fasting plasma glucose was associated with cardiovascular disease death, incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke in Type II diabetes only. In Type II diabetes, multivariate analysis confirmed that fasting plasma glucose was related to cardiovascular disease mortality independent of other risk factors. The independent relation of triglyceride to cardiovascular disease death was statistically significant only for Type II diabetic men. The presence of retinopathy was related to cardiovascular disease death and incidence of myocardial infarction in both types of diabetes and to stroke in Type II diabetes.
Conclusion/interpretation: This large cohort study shows that the assessment of cardiovascular disease risk in diabetes must include 'diabetes-related' variables such as glycaemic control, proteinuria and retinopathy, as well as the classic risk factors, blood pressure, smoking and dyslipidaemia. [Diabetologia