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Diabetologia. 2006 Dec;49(12):2859-65. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Risk of stroke in people with type 2 diabetes in the UK: a study using the General Practice Research Database.

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Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Postgraduate Medical School, University of Surrey, Daphne Jackson Road, Manor Park, Guildford, Surrey, UK.



Risk estimates for stroke in patients with diabetes vary. We sought to obtain reliable risk estimates for stroke and the association with diabetes, comorbidity and lifestyle in a large cohort of type 2 diabetic patients in the UK.


Using the General Practice Research Database, we identified all patients who had type 2 diabetes and were aged 35 to 89 years on 1 January 1992. We also identified five comparison subjects without diabetes and of the same age and sex. Hazard ratios (HRs) for stroke between January 1992 and October 1999 were calculated, and the association with age, sex, body mass index, smoking, hypertension, atrial fibrillation and duration of diabetes was investigated.


The absolute rate of stroke was 11.91 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI 11.41-12.43) in people with diabetes (n = 41,799) and 5.55 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI 5.40-5.70) in the comparison group (n = 202,733). The age-adjusted HR for stroke in type 2 diabetic compared with non-diabetic subjects was 2.19 (95% CI 2.09-2.32) overall, 2.08 (95% CI 1.94-2.24) in men and 2.32 (95% CI 2.16-2.49) in women. The increase in risk attributable to diabetes was highest among young women (HR 8.18; 95% CI 4.31-15.51) and decreased with age. No investigated comorbidity or lifestyle characteristic emerged as a major contributor to risk of stroke.


This study provides risk estimates for stroke for an unselected population from UK general practice. Patients with type 2 diabetes were at an increased risk of stroke, which decreased with age and was higher in women. Additional risk factors for stroke in type 2 diabetic patients included duration of diabetes, smoking, obesity, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.

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