Background: It is not known whether the coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality risk associated with recent (RDM; <10 years) or long-standing diabetes mellitus (LDM; > or =10 years) varies by sex.
Methods: The relationship between diabetes duration and CHD mortality was evaluated among 10 871 adults (aged 35-74 years at baseline) using the 1971-1992 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study.
Results: The CHD mortality rates per 1000 person-years in men with no myocardial infarction (MI) or diabetes, MI only, RDM only, LDM only, MI and RDM, and MI and LDM were 5.5 (95% confidence interval, 4.8-6.2), 15.2 (11.6-20.0), 13.2 (7.9-22.1), 11.4 (6.4-20.3), 36.0 (16.7-77.7), and 35.4 (14.0-89.7), respectively. The corresponding rates in women were 2.9 (2.5-3.3), 7.3 (5.0-10.8), 5.2 (3.5-7.7), 10.7 (7.5-15.5), 9.3 (4.3-19.9), and 21.6 (6.1-76.0), respectively. Compared with MI, the multivariate hazard ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (adjusted for age, race, smoking, hypertension, total cholesterol level, and body mass index) for fatal CHD in men with RDM, LDM, MI and RDM, and MI and LDM were 0.7 (0.3-1.3), 0.8 (0.4-1.4), 3.2 (1.4-7.4), and 2.4 (0.8-6.7), respectively. The corresponding ratios in women were 0.9 (0.6-1.3), 1.8 (1.1-3.2), 1.3 (0.5-3.5), and 1.6 (0.2-10.9), respectively.
Conclusions: In men, RDM and LDM were associated with as high a risk for CHD death as MI. In women, although RDM had a CHD mortality risk similar to MI, LDM had an even greater risk. Because women with LDM are at very high risk for CHD mortality, current guidelines may need to be further refined to match intensity of treatment to risk in these women.