Genetic analysis could be used to determine whether someone with type 2 diabetes is at risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD).
Joslin Diabetes Center scientists in the US say that adding genetics to future analyses could help further predict someones CAD risk better than existing methods.
CAD is the most common type of heart disease and people with diabetes are more likely to develop it. However, keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range, eating a low sugar diet and getting regular exercise can lower this risk.
Until recently, it was thought that looking at various genetic factors did very little to indicate who might be at risk. But the new Joslin study changed that.
The researchers looked at genetic risk scores taken from 160 gene locations found within people with CAD. They then compared the results with other findings, which were generated from two different type 2 diabetes studies: the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial and the Outcome-Reduction with an Initial Glargine Intervention (ORIGIN) trial.
They found that genetic scores can help predict future major coronary incidents before weight gain or increased cholesterol becomes apparent. This could be significant as people could seek treatment earlier, although the scores are not able to recommend the best course of action in prevention.
Dr Alessandro Doria, who worked on the study and is from Joslin’s Section on Epidemiology and Genetics, said: “The effect is not dramatic, but it is much better than what we expected.”
The findings have been published in Diabetes Care.