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This week, we reported on a study published in the European Journal of Cardiology that examined the joint association of loneliness and traditional risk factor control and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with diabetes.
Investigators tapped the UK Biobank, retrieving data for 18 509 adults aged 37 to 73 years who had diabetes but did not have CVD at baseline. Loneliness and isolation were assessed with a 2-item and 3-item scale, respectively. “High-risk” features were assigned 1 point each. They assessed level of risk factor control based on HbA1c, blood pressure (BP), LDL-C, and renal function values within guideline-recommended target range, and smoking status.
During the mean follow-up period of 10.7 years, researchers recorded 3247 CVD incidents, including 2771 CHD incidents and 701 strokes. In the fully adjusted model (controlled for sex, age, deprivation, BMI, medications, physical activity, diet, ETOH, tobacco use, and HbA1c, BP, and LDL-C control) compared with participants with scores of 0 on the loneliness scale, hazard ratios for CVD were 1.11 (95% CI, 1.02 to 1.20) and 1.26 (95% CI, 1.11 to 1.42) for participants with loneliness scale scores of 1 and 2, respectively (Ptrend<.001). Investigators observed no significant association between scores on the social isolation scale and CVD.
A note from authors
"Among diabetes patients, loneliness, but not social isolation scale, is associated with a higher risk of CVD and shows an additive interaction with the degree of risk factor control."