Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Million Hearts Colorado: More Than Ten Percent of Heart Attack Patients May Have Undiagnosed Diabetes

At least 10 percent of people who have a heart attack may have undiagnosed diabetes, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2014.
Researchers found:
  • Among the patients, 10.1 percent were newly diagnosed with diabetes during their treatment for heart attack.
  • Less than a third of the patients received diabetes education or medication upon discharge from the hospital.
  • Doctors failed to recognize diabetes in 69 percent of the previously undiagnosed patients. They were 17 times more likely to recognize patients’ diabetes if they checked the A1C test results during the heart attack, and even more likely the higher the test levels.
  • Six months after discharge, less than 7 percent of those who weren’t recognized as having diabetes during their hospital stay had started medication for the disease, compared to 71 percent of those whose diagnosis was recognized.
Diabetes, which causes blood sugar to reach dangerous levels, significantly raises the risk for heart attack. Two out of three people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association statistics.
“Diagnosing diabetes in patients who have had a heart attack is important because of the role diabetes plays in heart disease,” said the study’s lead author. “By recognizing and treating diabetes early, we may be able to prevent additional cardiovascular complications through diet, weight loss and lifestyle changes in addition to taking medications. Another important reason to diagnose diabetes at the time of heart attack is that it can guide the treatments for the patient’s coronary artery disease.”
People who have a heart attack should ask for a diabetes test if they have a family history of the disease or other risk factors such as overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, and high blood pressure. Those already diagnosed with diabetes should also ask for more information on the disease and how to manage it.
Diabetes is an important preventable risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. To find out more about the Diabetes Prevention Program in Colorado, visit the Diabetes Prevention Program Page.
Colorado participates in the Million Hearts Initiative, an effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years. You can participate too. Be one in a million - make your commitment and pledge today.

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