Infection by Helicobacter pylori has been epidemiologically linked to some extradigestive conditions, including ischemic heart disease. Diabetic patients are an at-risk population for cardiovascular and thrombo-occlusive cerebral disease. The aim of the study was to examine a possible relationship between H. pylori infection and cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease in diabetic patients.
This was a cross-sectional case-control study with 127 diabetic patients (both IDDM and NIDDM). Special emphasis was placed on the detection of clinical macro- and microvascular complications, cardiovascular risk factors, acute phase reactants, and serological markers of increased cardiovascular disease risk. H. pylori infection was assessed through the determination of specific Ig-G titers, measured by a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Coronary heart disease was more prevalent in diabetic patients with than without H. pylori (odds ratio [OR] 4.07; 95% Cl 1.21–13.6; P < 0.05). A history of thrombo-occlusive cerebral disease was also more frequent in H. pylori–positive diabetic patients (OR 4.8; 95% CI 1.24–18.51; P < 0.05). Other complications such as peripheral arteriopathy, advanced nephropathy, neuropathy, or retinopathy were no differently distributed according to serological status. Alterations in the levels of the following acute-phase reactants and blood chemistry determinations were significantly more profound in H. pylori–positive diabetic patients: high fibrinogen (P < 0.05), high erythrocyte sedimentation rate (P < 0.001), high triglycerides (P < 0.001), and low HDL cholesterol (P < 0.001). These values were also more deeply altered in H. pylori–positive diabetic patients with a history of coronary heart disease, thrombo-occlusive cerebral disease, or both, when compared with H. pylori–positive diabetic patients without those complications.
Our data indicate a possible association of H. pylori infection and the development of coronary heart disease, thrombo-occlusive cerebral disease, or both, in diabetic patients. The importance of this link is highlighted by the possibility of an effective intervention against H. pylori infection.