Diabetes patients are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular conditions. A new study has further confirmed the association and the research team has developed a blood test based on biomarkers that could detect heart attacks and kidney disease in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

In the latest study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, researchers evaluated the blood samples of more than 2,600 participants and identified four specific biomarkers associated with the severity of future heart and kidney complications.

Biomarkers are measurable characteristics of the body that serve as warning signs of health disorders.

The participants were part of a trial evaluating the effect of the diabetes drug canagliflozin in reducing the severity of heart and kidney complications. Researchers measured the biomarkers in the blood samples of the participants at the start of the study, after one year and after three years. Based on the results, they were then categorized into low, medium and high-risk categories.

People with high concentrations of the biomarkers at the beginning of the study had greater severity of heart and kidney issues throughout the three-year follow-up period.

"In this study, the biomarkers were used to measure baseline and how canagliflozin affected the biomarkers for up to three years follow up, as well as looking at the association between the biomarker concentrations and their changes from year to year to predict cardiovascular and kidney outcomes," said Dr. James Januzzi, study lead author and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

"Given that the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology and the American Diabetes Association now all recommend measurement of biomarkers to enhance the ability to predict risk in persons with Type 2 diabetes, these results may considerably extend the reach of biomarker-based testing, refining accuracy even further," Januzzi added.

Participants who took canagliflozin had lower levels of biomarkers after one year and three years compared to those who took a placebo, suggesting the effectiveness of the drug in reducing the risk of complications in diabetes patients.

"It was reassuring to discover that canagliflozin helped reduce risks the most in people with the highest chances for complications. Future studies are needed to better understand how Type 2 diabetes in conjunction with kidney disease develops and progresses so that we may initiate life-saving therapies earlier before symptoms of heart and kidney disease have occurred," Januzzi said in a news release.