Antibiotics may up heart disease risk in people with diabetes

Researchers have found that bacterial infections may elevate the risk of coronary heart disease in individuals with type 1 diabetes.

For the findings, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, the research team wanted to investigate the association between bacterial infections and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in type 1 diabetes.

“We were able to study the association between antibiotic purchases, endotoxemia and incident coronary heart disease in one of the largest cohorts of individuals with type 1 diabetes,” said study authors from Folkhalsan Research Centre (FRC), in Finland.

“As diabetic nephropathy has a substantial impact on both the risk of CVD as well as the risk of infections, we further studied this association at different stages of diabetic nephropathy,” authors added.

The findings showed that among 3,781 individuals with type 1 diabetes, 370 developed coronary heart disease over an average follow-up of 13.7 years.

Antibiotic purchases, reflecting bacterial infections in outpatient care, were significant risk factors for coronary heart disease, with a 21 per cent increased risk for each annual antibiotic purchase, according to the researchers.

A high blood level of bacterial lipopolysaccharides (large molecules derived from the outer layer of gram-negative bacteria) was also a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

“In broader terms, the present study demonstrates how infections associate with the development of late diabetic complications and perhaps even more importantly, how infections associate with the development of coronary heart disease, as the latter relationship has been disputed during recent years,” said author Johan Rasmus Simonsen from FRC.

“Interestingly, in our study this association to incident coronary heart disease was seen specifically with antibiotic purchases, making the potential pathophysiologic mechanisms behind this finding intriguing and warranting further studies,”

The researchers noted that more studies are needed to further elucidate the pathophysiologic mechanisms behind this association.

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