Sudden Death can occur among diabetics

sudden death

No, we are not talking about an old movie of Van Damme here.  This is real and it is very serious.  Study says people nearing fifty is in danger of dying because the risk of sudden cardiac death is seven-times higher than normal. The risk of dying from any heart disease is eighth time greater compared to people with no diabetes.

“It is important that healthcare providers are aware that young patients with diabetes have an elevated risk of mortality and that this is mainly explained by an increased risk of sudden cardiac death,” said the study’s lead author Jesper Svane, a medical student at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

Sudden cardiac death is caused by malfunctions in the heart’s electrical system. There won’t be anything to warn you since it happens suddenly, according to the American Heart Association.

Dr. James Catanese, chief of cardiology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said he wasn’t surprised to see the link between diabetes and heart disease deaths.

“What was surprising was the amount of increased risk — a 7 or 8 times higher risk is astounding, particularly in people below age 50,” added Catanese, who wasn’t involved in the study.

The 10-year study included health information from all Danes between 1 and 35 years old in 2000-2009 and from those 36 to 49 years old in 2007-2009.

According to the study, more than 14,000 people who died, 5 percent had diabetes.  500 of them had type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease. And nearly 200 who died had type 2 diabetes, which is the more common form of the disease and it’s generally linked to excess weight.

The researchers believe that diabetics have a had a five times higher mortality rate than people without diabetes. More specifically, they found, death from heart disease was five times higher in people with type 2 diabetes, and 12 times higher in people with type 1 diabetes. Svane said this may be because type 1 is often diagnosed in childhood, so patients have the disease for a longer period of time.

Perhaps one of the most dangerous effect of diabetes is that you could die while sleeping “dead-in-bed” syndrome.  The syndrome is characterized as when someone with insulin dependent diabetes has gone to bed seemingly perfectly fine and has been found dead in an undisturbed bed.

What Causes Dead in Bed Syndrome?

The evidence that has been available suggests that deaths could be caused by night time hypoglycemia triggering disturbances in heart rhythm or cardiac autonomic neuropathy (damage to nerves that control the functioning of the heart).

Hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure (HAAF) is also thought to play a part. HAAF means patients have a reduced counter-regulatory response to hypos and reduced hypo awareness.

The reduced counter-regulatory response means that the body has reduced ability to produce the adrenaline (epinephrine) or glucagon in response to a hypo. Glucagon is the body’s blood glucose raising hormone, and so a lack of glucagon response takes away a key lifesaving mechanism.

Sources: WebMD, Diabetes, Web Page Today