To examine the association between the degree of risk factor control and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in type 2 diabetes and to assess if the presence of cardio-renal disease modifies these relationships.
A retrospective cohort study using data from English practices from CPRD GOLD (Clinical Practice Research Datalink) and the SCI-Diabetes dataset (Scottish Care Information-Diabetes), with linkage to hospital and mortality data. We identified 101 749 with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in CPRD matched with 378 938 controls without diabetes and 330 892 with type 2 diabetes in SCI-Diabetes between 2006 and 2015. The main exposure was number of optimized risk factors: nonsmoker, total cholesterol ≤4 mmol/L, triglycerides ≤1.7 mmol/L, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ≤53 mmol/mol (≤7.0%), systolic blood pressure <140mm Hg, or <130 mm Hg if high risk. Cox models were used to assess cardiovascular risk associated with levels of risk factor control.
In CPRD, the mean baseline age in T2D was 63 years and 28% had cardio-renal disease (SCI-Diabetes: 62 years; 35% cardio-renal disease). Over 3 years follow-up (SCI-Diabetes: 6 years), CVD events occurred among 27 900 (27%) CPRD-T2D, 101 362 (31%) SCI-Diabetes-T2D, and 75 520 (19%) CPRD-controls. In CPRD, compared with controls, T2D participants with optimal risk factor control (all risk factors controlled) had a higher risk of CVD events (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.12–1.29).
In T2D participants from CPRD and SCI-Diabetes, pooled hazard ratios for CVD associated with 5 risk factors being elevated versus optimal risk factor control were 1.09 (95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.17) in people with cardio-renal disease but 1.96 (95% confidence interval, 1.82–2.12) in people without cardio-renal disease. People without cardio-renal disease were younger and more likely to have suboptimal risk factor control but had fewer prescriptions for risk factor modifying medications than those with cardio-renal disease.
Optimally managed people with T2D have a 21% higher CVD risk when compared with controls. People with T2D without cardio-renal disease would be predicted to benefit greatly from CVD risk factor intervention.