Diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis



Until insulin became available the association of diabetes with atherosclerosis was virtually unknown. There are a number of reasons for this. Survival of diabetics before insulin was introduced was short, and death was frequently due to ketoacidosis (Table 3.1). The milder type of diabetes now known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) was not widely recognized and the clinical diagnosis of coronary heart disease was uncommon. Nevertheless, there were a few reports in the late nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century in which atherosclerosis and disorders of lipid metabolism were noted in diabetics (quoted by West 19782). Since the 1920s a large number of studies have identified a high frequency of cardiovascular disease in diabetes. Despite modern treatment the expectation of life in diabetics is still considerably shorter than that of non-diabetics (Table 3.2) but the commonest cause of death in diabetics is now atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Diabetes and atherosclerosis has been the subject of a number of reviews by the author and colleagues3,4 as well as by others2.


Coronary Heart Disease Glucose Tolerance Coronary Atherosclerosis Blood Sugar Level Coronary Thrombosis 
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Copyright information

© R. W. Stout 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Queen’s University of BelfastUK

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