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Younger women with type 2 diabetes face higher risk of heart disease

American Heart Association Meeting Report

Type 2 diabetes independently increases the risk of heart disease in premenopausal women, according to a study presented at the American Heart AssociationHigh Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013.

Researchers studied 1,256 Argentine premenopausal and menopausal women with and without type 2 diabetes, ages 19 to 84, who underwent ultrasound imaging to measure plaque in their carotid arteries, the major artery running down the neck. Regardless of their age, family history, smoking history, having high blood pressure or menopausal status, plaque buildup was more common among the 293 women with type 2 diabetes compared with the 963 who didn't have diabetes.

"To reduce the risk of heart attacks, we recommend screening women with type 2 diabetes at younger ages, even if they don't have other known risk for heart disease," said Nestor Garcia, M.D., Ph.D, investigator from Blossom DMO, Cordoba, Argentina and CONICET, an Argentine government agency in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, and is caused by the gradual buildup of plaque in the arteries. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing in the United States, and is a major risk factor for heart disease — the leading cause of death in America.

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