Diabetic retinopathy (DR), particularly in the more advanced stages, is associated with an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) incidence, according to the results of a study published in the January issue of Diabetic Medicine.
Giovanni Targher and co-workers from the Hospital of Negrar and the University Hospital of Verona, Italy investigated the association between DR and the risk of incident CVD in 2,103 Type 2 diabetic outpatients who were free from CVD at baseline. Retinal findings were classified based on fundoscopy to categories of no retinopathy, non-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy.
During the seven-year follow-up period, 406 subjects developed incident CVD events. Following adjustment for age, body mass index, waist circumference, smoking, lipids, glycated haemoglobin, diabetes duration and medication use, patients with non-proliferative or proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy had a greater risk (p<0.001) of incident CVD events than those without retinopathy.
After additional adjustments for hypertension and advanced nephropathy, the risk of incident CVD markedly increased in those with proliferative/laser-treated retinopathy but not in those with non-proliferative retinopathy.
It was concluded that DR is associated with an increased CVD incidence.