Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients, and cardiovascular risk (CVR) remains high even in T1DM patients with good metabolic control. The underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood and known risk factors seem to operate differently in T1DM and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients. However, evidence of cardiovascular risk assessment and management in T1DM patients often is extrapolated from studies on T2DM patients or the general population. In this review, we examine the existing literature about the prevalence of clinical and subclinical CVD, as well as current knowledge about potential risk factors involved in the development and progression of atherosclerosis in T1DM patients. We also discuss current approaches to the stratification and therapeutic management of CVR in T1DM patients. Chronic hyperglycemia plays an important role, but it is likely that other potential factors are involved in increased atherosclerosis and CVD in T1DM patients. Evidence on the estimation of 10-year and lifetime risk of CVD, as well as the efficiency and age at which current cardiovascular medications should be initiated in young T1DM patients, is very limited and clearly insufficient to establish evidence-based therapeutic approaches to CVD management.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; hyperglycemia; lipoproteins; management; prevalence; risk factor; risk stratification; therapy; type 1 diabetes.