93% of patients with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke

A whopping 93% of adult patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) are at a high risk of experiencing a fatal acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or stroke, according to new research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The study was focused on data out of Catalonia, Spain, but its findings will likely still grab the attention of researchers—and patients—all over the world.

“Traditionally, cardiovascular risk in the region has been lower than in central and northern Europe or the U.S.,” co-author Manel Mata-Cases, PhD, of the Catalan Institute of Health in Barcelona, Spain, said in a statement. “Therefore, our results should generate concern and a call for action to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with T2D managed in primary care.”

Mata-Cases et al. explored data from nearly 374,000 adult patients in Catalonia. Each patient had a confirmed diagnosis of type 2 diabetes as of Dec. 31, 2016. The average age was 70.1 years old. Each patient’s risk was determined by identifying such factors as a history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

Overall, 93% of patients had at least a high risk of a fatal AMI or stroke within the next decade—and the risk was greater for some of those individuals. While 53.4% of patients were at a “very high” risk, 39.6% were at “high” risk. Seven percent of patients, meanwhile, were at “moderate” risk.

“These findings in a primary care setting should fuel the implementation of integrated care. Healthy behaviors are the cornerstone of preventing cardiovascular disease and need to be combined with control of blood glucose, serum cholesterol, and blood pressure,” Mata-Cases said. “General practitioners and nurses should agree [on] treatment objectives with patients considering their characteristics and preferences.”

The full study is available here.