Future diabetes treatment may be tailored towards the characteristics of each individual's heart and coronary artery.
Doctors working at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) found calcium to be a vital indicator of heart attacks and strokes in patients with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Diabetes sufferers with a high concentration of the metal in their heart tissue were demonstrated to have an increased chance of having a heart attack or stroke, while patients who displayed low calcium concentrations had a similar risk to a healthy person.
"Our findings also suggest that individuals with significantly high levels of coronary calcium or carotid wall thickness should receive more aggressive monitoring and treatment for any associated risk factors," added co-author Dr Shaista Malik, a UCI cardiologist.
The latest figures published by the British Heart Foundation show 11 per cent of men and 15 per cent of women die in the 30 days following a heart attack, while 49,000 people died from a stroke in the UK last year.