Undetected Diabetes Linked to Periodontitis

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The risk of myocardial infarction and periodontitis may be higher for people with undetected diabetes, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden and published in the journal Diabetes care.

                Based on a previous study called PAOKRANK, the research included 805 myocardial infarction patients from 17 Swedish cardiology clinics and 805 controls who were matched by age, sex and postal code. After excluding participants with a diabetes diagnosis, researchers were left with 712 patients and 731 controls with data on both periodontic and glucose status. Comparisons were made after adjusting for age, sex, smoking habits, education and civil status.

                The research showed that previously undetected glucose disorders, which included diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, were linked to myocardial infarction. Undetected diabetes was also found to be linked to severe periodontitis. When myocardial infarction patients and controls were analyzed separately, the association was clearer in the patients than in the controls, which is possibly because many of the controls were very healthy and few had severe periodontitis and undetected diabetes, according to the study.

                “Our findings indicate that dysglycemia is a key risk factor in both severe periodontitis and myocardial infarction and that the combination of severe periodontitis and undetected diabetes further increases the risk of myocardial infarction,” said the study’s lead author Anna Norhammar, MD, a cardiologist and associate professor at Karolinska Institute’s Department of Medicine in Solna.

                According to researchers, these results should prompt diabetes specialists to consider their patient’s dental health as well as the need for closer collaboration with dentist.

                Read more about this study in Diabetes Care (2019); doi.org/10.2337/dc-19-0018