BackgroundPrevious studies found regional differences in the prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes between Northeast and South of Germany. The aim of this study was to investigate if regional variations are also present for macrovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes and in the general population. A further aim was to investigate if traditional risk factors of macrovascular complications can explain these regional variations.MethodsData of persons aged 30-79 from two regional population-based studies, SHIP-TREND (Northeast Germany, 2008-2012, n=2539) and KORA-F4 (South Germany, 2006-2008, n=2932), were analysed. Macrovascular disease was defined by self-reported previous myocardial infarction, stroke or coronary angiography. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for prevalence of macrovascular disease in persons with type 2 diabetes and in the general population.ResultsThe prevalence of macrovascular disease in persons with type 2 diabetes and in the general population was considerably higher in the Northeast (SHIP-TREND: 32.8 and 12.0%) than in the South of Germany (KORA-F4: 24.9 and 8.8%), respectively. The odds of macrovascular disease in persons with type 2 diabetes was 1.66 (95% CI: 1.11-2.49) in the Northeast in comparison to the South after adjustment for sex, age, body mass index, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking. In the general population, SHIP-TREND participants also had a significantly increased odds of macrovascular disease compared to KORA-F4 participants (OR=1.63, 95% CI: 1.33-2.00). After excluding coronary angiography (myocardial infarction or stroke only), the ORs for region decreased in all models, but the difference between SHIP-TREND and KORA-F4 participants was still significant in the age- and sex-adjusted model for the general population (OR=1.34, 95% CI: 1.01-1.78).ConclusionsThis study provides an indication for regional differences in macrovascular disease, which is not explained by traditional risk factors. Further examinations of other risk factors, such as regional deprivation or geographical variations in medical care services are needed.