Diabetic retinopathy tied to risk of heart disease

Type 2 diabetes is defined as insulin resistance. When the body is unable to process insulin, glucose will not be correctly absorbed into cells and will thus accumulate in the bloodstream. High blood glucose can lead to a wide array of cardiovascular complications, such as diabetic retinopathy (DR), heart disease, and stroke.

A recent study investigated the relationship between mild-stage DR and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. Using a prospective cohort study design, type 2 diabetic patients with mild to moderate DR were followed annually for up to 8 years and compared to diabetic patients without DR.

The researchers found that persons with mild to moderate nonproliferative DR had a higher risk for both CHD and stroke. These findings show that even diabetic patients with mild DR are at a greater risk for dangerous cardiovascular problems compared to DR-free diabetics.

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