Identification and Predictors for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Equivalents Among Adults With Diabetes

Yanglu Zhao, Shaista Malik, Matthew J. Budoff, Adolfo Correa, Kellan E. Ashley, Elizabeth Selvin, Karol E. Watson, Nathan D. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE We examined diabetes as a cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk equivalent based on diabetes severity and other CVD risk factors. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We pooled four U.S. cohorts (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities [ARIC], Jackson Heart Study [JHS], Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis [MESA], and Framing-ham Heart Study Offspring Cohort [FHS-Offspring]) and classified subjects into groups by baseline diabetes/CVD status (positive or negative). CVD risks of the diabetes mellitus (DM)+/CVD2 group versus DM2/CVD+ group were examined by diabetes severity and in subgroups of other CVD risk factors. We developed an algorithm to identify subjects with CVD risk equivalent diabetes by comparing the relative CVD risk of being DM+/CVD2 versus DM2/CVD+. RESULTS The pooled cohort included 27,730 subjects (mean age 58.5 years, 44.6% male). CVD rates per 1,000 person-years were 16.5, 33.4, 43.2, and 71.4 among those DM2/CVD2, DM+/CVD2, DM2/CVD+, and DM+/CVD+, respectively. Compared with those DM2/CVD+, CVD risks were similar or higher for those with HbA1c ‡ 7%, diabetes duration ‡10 years, or diabetes medication use, while those with less severe diabetes had lower risks. Hazard ratios (95% CI) for DM+/CVD2 vs. DM2/CVD+ were 0.96 (95% CI 0.86–1.07), 0.97 (0.88–1.07), 0.96 (0.82–1.13), 1.18 (0.98–1.41), 0.93 (0.85–1.02), and 1.00 (0.89–1.13) among women and those of White race, age <55 years, and with triglycerides ‡2.26 mmol/L, hs-CRP ‡2 mg/L, and estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively. In the DM+/CVD2 group, 19.1% had CVD risk equivalent diabetes with a lower risk score but a higher observed CVD risk. CONCLUSIONS Diabetes is a CVD risk equivalent in one-fifth of CVD-free adults living with diabe-tes. High HbA1c, long diabetes duration, and diabetes medication use were pre-dictors of CVD risk equivalence. Diabetes is a CVD risk equivalent for women, white people, and those of younger age or with higher triglycerides or hs-CRP or reduced kidney function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2411-2420
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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