Having diabetes raises the risk of heart failure by 65 per cent, according to new alarming data from a major research project into British diabetes care.
Published on Monday, the Complications and Mortality report from the National Diabetes Audit – considered to be the largest annual clinical audit in the world- is based on analysis of almost two million people with diabetes in England and Wales in 2010-11.
The key findings of the report show that diabetics were 65 per cent more likely to suffer heart failure – a condition where the heart becomes less effective at pumping blood around the body. A total of 45,000 diabetic patients had heart failure in 2010-11, compared with the 27,300 that would have been anticipated in the general population.
Heart attacks were 48 per cent more likely, with the data showing that 14,500 people with diabetes suffered myocardial infarction over the 12 months, compared to an expected figure of 9,800, while the risk of angina, stroke, major/minor amputation, kidney failure and death was also considerably higher – ranging from 25 per cent for stroke to 331 per cent for lower limb amputation.
The excess risk of dying was much greater (135 per cent) among those with type 1 diabetes than those with type 2 (36 per cent), according to the report, while women were at a greater relative risk of dying than men.
Dr Bob Young, a consultant diabetologist who led work on the audit, said: “These results highlight the huge impact of diabetes on disability and premature death. Much can be done to reduce these risks if all health care sectors work together with people who have diabetes.
“If everyone achieved the treatment targets that are laid down by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), none of the complications would be inevitable,” he added.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundatio, said it’s important to identify people with, or at risk, of diabetes and give them “appropriate treatment and advice to help them avoid cardiovascular complications”.
But what’s more important, he added, is the need “to prevent diabetes from occurring in the first place by tackling the increasing levels of obesity in our society, particularly in our children”.
Note that the report fails to clearly state how much the risk of each long-term complication rises specific to type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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