New figures reveal the extent of heart disease risk due to type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on September 27, 2017

New figures released in the UK are a stark reminder that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke than the general population.

Nearly 240,000 people with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with heart disease or stroke in England and Wales each year, according to new estimates from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).


This includes 23,200 who suffer a heart attack, 31,900 people who suffer a stroke and 92,800 who develop heart failure. Furthermore, experts warn these figures are on the rise as the population ages and population levels of obesity rises.

People with type 2 diabetes are 2.4 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than the general population, and twice as likely to suffer a stroke. They are also 2.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with heart failure.

In the UK today, around 4.2 million people are living with type 2 diabetes, with a further 11.9 million at increased risk of the condition.

When someone has diabetes, they have high levels of glucose in their blood which can damage the walls of their arteries, and make them more likely to develop fatty deposits. If these fatty deposits rupture, causing a blood clot, they can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The BHF says that the figures show the urgent need for more research to improve treatments for people living with heart disease and diabetes. Greater support is needed to help people with diabetes lower their risk of future heart disease and stroke.

‘These estimates are a stark reminder that people living with diabetes are two to three times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. The tragedy is that often the onset of these conditions can be prevented, while research could lead to new treatments,’ said Dr Mike Knapton, BHF associate medical director.

Through the National Charity Partnership, the BHF, charity Diabetes UK and supermarket giant Tesco are helping millions of people lower their risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes through a range of healthy eating and physical activity initiatives.

Since 2015, the partnership has raised £21 million to drive forward initiatives to help people improve their lifestyle and fund more research into preventing and treating these chronic conditions.

Knapton explained that the unique partnership is enabling the BHF to fund research in to new ways of preventing these deadly conditions and the nationwide programmes are helping people transform their lifestyle.

Jenna Hall, programme director for the National Charity Partnership, pointed out that the partnership is able to make significant progress towards ending the devastation that type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease can bring.

‘As well as funding research, we have so far helped more than one million people get more active and supported thousands of families to pick healthier food choices, two factors that can help people reduce their risk of these serious conditions,’ she said.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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