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Simple CT scan may be able to predict early death risk in people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes

One reason why physicians stress the importance of diabetes management for patients with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes is that these individuals have a high risk of dying early in life due to disease-related complications.

While some people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes may not want to think about this possibility, others may be interested to learn that a simple computed tomography (CT) scan has been shown to predict the risk of untimely death in diabetes patients.

According to a recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care, CT scans can determine an individual's coronary artery calcium score, which has been known to be a strong indicator of coronary heart disease.



The researchers explained that people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes are about two times more likely than those without the disease to develop cardiovascular disease, and 60 percent of diabetics die of vascular complications, such as heart attack or stroke.

This may be due in part to the fact that many people with type 2 diabetes became insulin resistant because they were obese for a long span of time or had unhealthy eating habits. Clogged arteries are a common problem among people with these risk factors.

The investigators used "gated" CT scans to evaluate how much coronary artery disease or calcified plaque was present in the participants' blood.

"When comparing the group with the highest amount of plaque to the group that had the lowest amount of calcified plaque, the risk of dying was more than six times greater in the group with high levels of calcified plaque," said lead researcher Donald W. Bowden, PhD.

He noted that people with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes who are interested in having this type of test done may find providers who offer gated CT scans for as little as $200.
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