It’s well known that diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease and related complications-also the result of inflammation. Now there’s a way of predicting which people with Type 2 diabetes might be at the highest risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The ‘coronary calcium score,’ developed by researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, measures the build-up of calcium on the walls of coronary arteries. Type 2 patients with very high calcium scores can be more than 11 times more likely to die from heart disease than patients with the lowest scores. The study was based on results derived from tests on 1,123 adult patients with Type 2 diabetes aged 34 to 86 years.
In the scale developed by the Wake Forest researchers, a score of 0 means indicates no calcium build-up in the arteries, thus no heart disease risk. A score more than 100 usually means a patient has heart disease. At its high end, the scale runs to 1,000 or more, a level at which the risk of deaths from heart disease increases dramatically.
Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that coronary calcium scoring be added to the repertoire of diagnostic tools healthcare users use when dealing with people with diabetes. In any case, they advise, type 2s should make sure to routinely ask their doctors to assess their risk for heart disease. The study has been published in Diabetes Care. This story originally appeared on Diabetes Health.