As If Living With Diabetes Wasn’t Difficult Enough: Study Finds Patients Significantly More At Risk Of Heart Failure.
Living with type 1 diabetes is tough. Individuals with the complicated, serious, lifelong condition have to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin because their bodies cannot produce the hormone naturally.
Failure to stay on top of the condition can lead to the blood sugar levels of people with type 1 diabetes becoming significantly elevated. This can, in turn, seriously damage their heart, eyes, feet and kidneys. These are known as the complications of diabetes.
According to Diabetes UK, there are now almost 3.7 million people living with a diabetes diagnosis in the UK, of which 10% have type 1 diabetes. However, the charity says that a further 1 million people are currently living with the condition but don’t even know because they have never officially been diagnosed.
As if living with diabetes wasn’t already difficult enough, new research shows that people with the condition are more at risk of heart failure. In fact, the incidence of heart failure in patients with diabetes is around two times higher than people without the condition.
Moreover, patients with the type 1 form of the condition were also more likely to die as a result of heart failure, compared to patients with type 2 diabetes and those without diabetes.
Despite this, the study, led by Sarah Wild from the University of Glasgow, found that patients with type 1 diabetes were prescribed fewer drugs for the treatment and prevention of heart failure.
The health data of some 3.25 million people was examined over a 10-year period for the study, the findings of which are published in the journal Circulation.
Heart Failure Hospitalisation Incidence Higher In Diabetes Patients, Regardless Of Type
The number of heart failure hospitalisations nationally in people aged 30 years or over during the study period was documented. The researchers found that overall, heart failure hospitalisation incidence was higher in diabetes patients – regardless of type – than in patients without the condition.
However, patients with type 1 diabetes, men and women, were more likely to die within 30 days as a result of their condition. Specifically, women with type 1 diabetes were 2.5 times more likely to die from heart failure than women without the condition. For men, the difference was almost 4 times higher in terms of risk.
Speaking about the findings of the study, lead author David McAllister said: “Heart failure incidence has fallen over time for people with and without diabetes, but it is still around two times higher in people with diabetes than in people without diabetes. Our findings suggest that heart failure is an under-recognised and important complication in diabetes, particularly for type 1 disease.”
More research is now needed to see whether greater use of drugs would help prevent patients with type 1 diabetes developing cardiovascular disease.
The study by the University of Glasgow highlights an important risk factor for people living with diabetes – particularly those with the type 1 form of the disease. Ironically, a drug that is commonly used for treating type 2 diabetes is showing promise in the treatment of a common heart failure syndrome.
I joined Premier Choice Group as a Healthcare & Protection Consultant in 2017, where I now look after the needs of over 200 clients nationwide. Prior to joining the Premier Choice Group, I worked for a large Private Healthcare Insurer, VitalityHealth, and managed SME and Individual clients across the country.