The aim of this study was to evaluate whether noninsulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM) and its metabolic control and duration predict coronary heart disease (CHD) events during a 3.5-year follow-up in a randomly selected Finnish population sample 65–74 years of age at baseline. Of 1,298 subjects participating in the baseline study, 1,069 were nondiabetic and 229 had NIDDM. During the follow-up, 3.4% of nondiabetic and 14.8% of NIDDM subjects died from CHD or had a nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI). The impact of NIDDM on CHD mortality and morbidity was more marked in women than in men. Odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals for CHD death and nonfatal MI in women with NIDDM compared with women with normal glucose tolerance were 11.7 (3.8–36.4) and 4.7 (3.6–6.1). In men, the corresponding ORs were 0.43 (0.1–1.9) and 1.4 (0.6–3.2). In multiple logistic regression analyses including all study subjects, NIDDM (P < 0.01), male sex (P < 0.05), and previous MI (P < 0.01) predicted CHD death (n = 45). NIDDM (P < 0.01), male sex (P < 0.05), previous MI (P < 0.05), current smoking (P < 0.001), systolic blood pressure (P < 0.001), and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P < 0.01) predicted all CHD events (CHD death or nonfatal MI) (n = 107). In NIDDM subjects, only glycated hemoglobin A1c (GHbsA1c) at baseline (P < 0.01) and duration of diabetes (P < 0.05) predicted CHD death (n = 15) and all CHD events (n = 33). There was a significant increase in the risk of CHD death and all CHD events in NIDDM subjects with GHbA1c levels higher than 7.0% compared with diabetic subjects with lower GHbA1c (ORs 4.3 [1.1–16.7] and 2.2 [1.0–5.1]). In conclusion, NIDDM and its metabolic control and the duration of diabetes are important predictors of CHD in elderly subjects, particularly in women.

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