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Diabetes growth will cause surge in cardiovascular disease

Heart attacks and strokes linked to diabetes will rise 29% by 2035

Adrian O'Dowd

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Experts are warning that the number of people in England having heart attacks and strokes as a result of their diabetes will rise by almost a third (29%) by 2035.

According to new forecasts from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the growing number of people with diabetes could result in 38,939 people with diabetes having a heart attack in 2035 – a rise of 8,796 compared to 2015 – and 50,252 people having a stroke – a rise of 11,352.

Currently, in England, around 3.9 million people have diabetes, but this is expected to rise to more than five million over the next 20 years, partly due to people’s worsening lifestyles and the UK’s growing obesity rates leading to more people developing type 2 diabetes.

Most people with diabetes are type 2 and anyone with diabetes is two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, which means a rise in diabetes cases is expected to trigger a sharp increase in serious heart and circulatory events.

The BHF based their predictions on analysis of cardiovascular complications prevalence from NHS Digital’s National Diabetes Audit Complications and Mortality 2015-2016 audit applied to estimates for 2015 and 2035 from Public Health England’s Diabetes prevalence estimates for CCGs by GP registered populations.

The charity also warned that in addition to heart attack and stroke, the rise in diabetes cases would increase the number of people experiencing other conditions such as angina and heart failure – both rising by 29%.

Such a rise was likely to put an unprecedented burden on the NHS, with previous estimates suggesting that the yearly cost of treating people with diabetes would rise from £9.8bn in 2012 to £16.9bn by 2035.

Therefore, there was a need for “bold action” to tackle lifestyle factors, such as obesity and poor diet, that were leading to growing rates of type 2 diabetes, as well as a greater focus within the health sector on earlier diagnosis.

Simon Gillespie, BHF chief executive, said: “Thanks to research we’ve made excellent progress in improving survival rates for heart attacks and strokes. However, today’s figures point to an extremely worrying trend.

“People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases and the expected surge in type 2 diabetes cases by 2035 could put thousands more people at risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke.

“We can only reverse this trend by taking bold action to tackle obesity and inactivity, especially amongst young people. This must include consideration of further regulatory action to reduce sugar and fat content in food, and to curb junk food advertising directed at young children.

“We also need continued research that will enable us to better understand how diabetes leads to these deadly heart and circulatory conditions, and how we can stop it.”

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