New tool can predict cardiovascular risk in people with type 1 diabetes

​Researchers at Steno Diabetes Center have developed a new tool that can help physicians predict the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 1 diabetes. The goal is to prevent fatal cardiovascular events.

It is common knowledge among doctors that people with type 2 diabetes have a two- to three fold risk of developing cardiovascular disease e.g. myocardial infarction or heart failure compared with the general population. To prevent cardiovascular events people with type 2 diabetes are treated intensively with blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering drugs. However, preventing cardiovascular disease in people with type 1 diabetes which make up 10 % of the 320.000 people living with diabetes in Denmark has not had the same priority. A new tool is setting out to change this trend.

“We know from recent studies that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease is more or less the same whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes so it is necessary that physicians treat persons with type 1 diabetes just as intensively as they do with type 2s. The new tool can support clinicians in preventing cardiovascular disease among people with type 1 diabetes”, says senior researcher at Steno Diabetes Center, Dorte Vistisen who has developed the tool.  

By typing in data from the patients such as blood glucose value, blood pressure and cholesterol the risk of developing cardiovascular disease over a 5 to 10 years period is calculated. The physician will then know if the patient has a low, medium or high risk and will be able to adjust treatment.    

The tool is developed based on data from 4.306 persons with type 1 diabetes from the Steno clinic. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Southern Denmark the model has then been validated against register data from 2.119 Danish patients. The calculator is the first of its kind to include data from patients regardless of age at time of diagnosis and to include highly detailed data e.g. on kidney function.  

”This means that we have a very precise tool that can help the physician to make important decisions on treatment. In time that may prevent serious co-morbidities and save lives”, says professor and primary investigator at Steno Diabetes, Marit Eika Jørgensen, who initiated the project. 

The results behind the calculator has just been published in the acknowledged scientific journal Circulation. The online calculator is developed in collaboration with researcher Adam Hulman from Aarhus University. 
Reference: The Danish Diabetes Association

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