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Sarcopenia Doubles Cardiovascular Death Risk in Diabetes Patients

Sarcopenia Doubles Cardiovascular Death Risk in Diabetes Patients

Sarcopenia Doubles Cardiovascular Death Risk

Recent Findings Reveal Alarming Implications for Those with Diabetes

A groundbreaking study unveiled at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg, Germany, has illuminated the perilous connection between low muscle mass and the risk of cardiovascular mortality in individuals battling diabetes. The research conducted on a cohort of US adults has shown that this risk is distinct from factors such as frailty, glycemic control, retinopathy, and nephropathy.

Sarcopenia and Its Complex Relationship with Cardiovascular Health:

Understanding the Link

Sarcopenia, the age-related decline in muscle mass and strength, had previously been linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality in people with diabetes. However, the extent to which this relationship is influenced by blood sugar control and diabetic complications remained uncertain. The medical community also lacked a consensus on how sarcopenia impacts cardiovascular health and mortality in diabetic patients. Fill out this form to see if you or a friend qualify for Continuous Glucose Monitors.

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Research Methodology:

Examining the Data

To unravel the mystery, Dr. Jae Myung Yu and Dr. Shinje Moon, alongside colleagues from Hallym University, Seoul, Republic of South Korea, delved into data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), focusing on 1,514 American adults with diabetes, aged over 20.

Of the participants, 196 (55.6% female) were identified as having low muscle mass, characterized by an appendicular skeletal muscle mass index (ASMI) of less than 7 kg/m² in men or less than 5.5 kg/m² in women. These individuals had an average age of 63.5 years and an average diabetes duration of 14.5 years, with no distinction made between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, 1,318 participants (48.3% female) exhibited normal muscle mass, with an average age of 54 years and an average diabetes duration of 10.4 years. The NHANES data provided a wealth of additional information, encompassing variables such as smoking status, alcohol consumption, microvascular complications, HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar control), and frailty.

Over an average follow-up period of 9.3 years, 413 participants succumbed to various causes, with 147 fatalities attributable to cardiovascular diseases. These statistics unveiled a startling connection between low muscle mass and heightened risks of all-cause and CVD mortality. Specifically, participants with low muscle mass were 44% more likely to face all-cause mortality during the follow-up period and a staggering twofold risk of CVD mortality, compared to those with normal muscle mass.

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Key Findings:

Unearthing the Independent Link

Crucially, these results were adjusted for numerous factors, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, central obesity, history of cancer, hypertension, dyslipidemia, past CVD events, duration of diabetes, microvascular complications, and HbA1c.

Furthermore, the in-depth analysis demonstrated that low muscle mass is closely tied to all-cause mortality and CVD mortality independently of HbA1c and microvascular complications. This connection remained unaffected by frailty, assessed using a comprehensive frailty index encompassing 46 variables such as memory problems, hospital stays, and blood test results.

Implications and Call for Further Research:

A Sobering Revelation

In conclusion, the study’s authors emphasize the critical need for further research to fully understand how sarcopenia heightens the risk of death among individuals with diabetes. This revelation has profound implications for the management of diabetes and underscores the importance of considering body composition in obesity treatment and weight management strategies.

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As Dr. Jae Myung Yu from Hallym University in Seoul, Republic of South Korea, aptly puts it, “It is important to consider body composition when treating obesity and managing weight in people with diabetes.”


A Wake-Up Call for Diabetic Patients and Healthcare Professionals

This study serves as a stark reminder of the intricate interplay between muscle health and cardiovascular outcomes in diabetes. Recognizing and addressing the issue of low muscle mass may prove pivotal in the quest to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality in individuals living with diabetes.