The Effects of Diabetes on the Risks of Major Cardiovascular Diseases and Death in the Asia-Pacific Region

  1. Asia Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration
  1. Asia Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration (see Appendix)


    OBJECTIVE—To provide reliable age- and region-specific estimates of the associations between diabetes and major cardiovascular diseases and death in populations from the Asia-Pacific region.

    RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Twenty-four cohort studies from Asia, Australia, and New Zealand (median follow-up, 5.4 years) provided individual participant data from 161,214 people (58% from Asia) of whom 4,873 had a history of diabetes at baseline. The associations of diabetes with the risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, and cause-specific mortality during follow-up were estimated using time-dependent Cox models, stratified by study cohort and sex and adjusted for age at risk.

    RESULTS—In all, 9,277 deaths occurred (3,635 from cardiovascular disease). The hazard ratio (95% CI) associated with diabetes was 1.97 (1.72–2.25) for fatal cardiovascular disease; there were similar hazard ratios for fatal coronary heart disease, fatal stroke, and composites of fatal and nonfatal outcomes. For all cardiovascular outcomes, hazard ratios were similar in Asian and non-Asian populations and in men and women, but were greater in younger than older individuals. For noncardiovascular death, the hazard ratio was 1.56 (1.38–1.77), with separately significant increases in the risks of death from renal disease, cancer, respiratory infections, and other infective causes. The hazard ratio for all-causes mortality was 1.68 (1.55–1.84), with similar ratios in Asian and non-Asian populations, but with significantly higher ratios in younger than older individuals.

    CONCLUSIONS—The relative effect of diabetes on the risks of cardiovascular disease and death in Asian populations is much the same as that in the largely Caucasian populations of Australia and New Zealand. Hazard ratios were severalfold greater in younger people than older people. The rapidly growing prevalence of diabetes in Asia heralds a large increase in the incidence of diabetes-related death in the coming decades.


    • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Prof. Mark Woodward, Institute for International Health, University of Sydney, PO Box 576, 144 Burren St., Newtown, Sydney, NSW 2042 Australia. E-mail: mwoodward{at}

      Received for publication 3 June 2002 and accepted in revised form 10 October 2002.

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    1. doi: 10.2337/diacare.26.2.360 Diabetes Care vol. 26 no. 2 360-366