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Risk of “Silent” Heart Disease for Diabetes Patients


Some people with diabetes who have no symptoms of cardiovascular disease are actually at risk, according to results reported by the Society of Nuclear Medicine. A study tested 189 people with diabetes, first using a standard EKG while the person was at rest and then when the person was placing demands on the heart by exercising. Then researchers used a more sensitive test called a nuclear stress test, or myocardial perfusion imaging.

The tests revealed that 14 percent of the people showed cardiac abnormalities, or cardiac ischemia, when the heart was under stress during the EKG, but more than half of the patients showed abnormalities when they had the nuclear stress test. The abnormalities showed that the heart was not getting enough oxygen-rich blood.

Diabetes itself has been identified as a risk factor for heart disease. People with diabetes who do not experience pain during exercise may actually be at risk for “silent” heart disease.

Society of Nuclear Medicine, 19 June 2002 Press Release
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