People with undetected glucose disorders run a higher risk of
both myocardial infarction and periodontitis, according to a study published in the journal
Diabetes Care by researchers including cardiologists and dentists at Karolinska Institutet
in Sweden. The results demonstrate the need of greater collaboration between dentistry and
Severe periodontitis is already known to be associated with a higher risk of myocardial
infarction and lowered glucose tolerance, and diabetes to be more common in people who
have suffered a heart attack. The researchers behind these earlier findings have now
studied whether undetected glucose disorders is linked to both these conditions:
myocardial infarction and periodontitis.
The study was based on data from a previous study called PAROKRANK. It included 805 myocardial
infarction patients from 17 Swedish cardiology clinics and 805 controls, who were matched by
age, sex and post code. The patients' periodontitic status was assessed with X-rays and
dysglycaemic status with glucose load tests.
The study shows that previously undetected glucose disorders, which include diabetes and
impaired glucose tolerance, were linked to myocardial infarction. It was roughly twice as
common for myocardial infarction patients to have undetected dysglycaemia as for healthy
controls, confirming the research group's earlier findings.
Undetected diabetes was also found to be linked to severe periodontitis. When myocardial
infarction patients and controls were analysed 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.
"Our findings indicate that dysglycaemia 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," says the study's lead author
Anna Norhammar, cardiologist and Associate Professor at Karolinska Institutet's Department
of Medicine in Solna.
"Our study shows that undetected glucose disorders are common in two major diseases -
myocardial infarction and periodontitis," says Dr Norhammar. "Many people visit the
dentist regularly and maybe it's worth considering taking routine blood-sugar tests
in patients with severe periodontitis to catch these patients."