Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Real age - diabetes

Heart Beat

Real age "" diabetes

When it comes to your heart and blood vessels, diabetes adds 15 years to your age.

That's the conclusion of Canadian researchers who looked at almost 400,000 people with diabetes and 9 million without it. They collected information on when heart attacks, strokes, other cardiovascular trouble, and deaths occurred in the two groups. From this mountain of numbers they calculated the average age at which men and women in the diabetes and nondiabetes groups crossed from low heart disease risk (under 10 cases per 1,000 people) to moderate risk (10""19 cases per 1,000) and then high risk (20 or more cases per 1,000). Accounting for small differences between men and women, people with diabetes crossed into the high-risk category an average of 15 years earlier than those without diabetes. The more broadly the researchers defined heart disease risk, the more diabetes advanced one's cardiovascular age.

Advancing age

Average age at which people with and without diabetes reached moderate and high risk of heart disease.

Average age upon entering risk category

Moderate risk

High risk

WOMEN

No diabetes

61.7

68.7

Diabetes

46.1

56.0

MEN

No diabetes

54.8

62.2

Diabetes

38.6

49.3

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