IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

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24 August 2016 - Press release

Diabetes increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases

People with diabetes mellitus are three times more likely to die of liver and kidney diseases, as well as ischemic heart disease

A study coordinated by researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and involving 12 groups from across Spain has, for the first time in this country, described the fact that diabetes mellitus not only increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular problems (myocardial infarction, stroke or heart failure), but also significantly increases mortality linked to cancer, infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hepatic and renal illnesses. The results have been published in the prestigious journal Diabetes Care.

"Diabetes mellitus is a global public health problem that currently affects 382 million people around the world. Previous work had indicated an average of 6 years difference in the life expectancy of people with and without diabetes. The results of our study show that people with diabetes are three times more likely than the general populace to die from liver or kidney diseases and ischemic heart disease, while the chances are doubled of suffering stroke and liver or colorectal cancer. Finally, the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, infection, heart failure and lung cancer is more than 50% higher for the diabetic population", explains Maria Grau, a researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Genetics research group and coordinator of the study.

This study, which the researchers christened FRESCO (the Spanish acronym for "Spanish Risk Function of Coronary and Other Events") , involved analysing 56,000 participants aged 35 to 79 who had no previous cardiovascular disease, 8,600 of whom were diabetics. It is the first time in Spain that this finding has been described using data from such an extensive cohort and it involved research groups from Barcelona, Girona, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Pamplona, Reus, Seville, Talavera de la Reina, and Zaragoza.

"In the light of these results it is necessary to look for strategies to decrease mortality rates in the diabetic population, such as promoting healthy diets, physical activity, disease screening, efficient handling of the disease through intensive control of cardiovascular risk factors, improving health systems by creating multidisciplinary functional units for managing diabetes, and establishing preventive policies that affect the entire population", concludes Maria Grau.

Reference article:

Baena-Díez JM, Peñafiel J, Subirana I, Ramos R, Elosua R, Marín-Ibañez A, Guembe M, Rigo F, Tormo-Díaz MJ, Moreno-Iribas C, Cabré JJ, Segura A, García-Lareo M, Gómez de la Cambra A, Lapetra J, Quesada M, Marrugat J, Medrano MJ, Berjón J, Frontera G, Gavrila d, Barricarte A, Basora J, García JM, Pavone NC, Lora-Pablos D, Mayoral I, Franch J, Mata M, Castell C, Frances A, Grau M, on behalf of the FRESCO Investigators* Risk of causi-specific death in individuals with diabetis mellitus: a competing risks analysis. Diabetis Care 2016

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