People With Diabetes More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Heart Failure

People with diabetes are 38% more likely to die early and have a 73% higher chance of being admitted to hospital for heart failure than others, a report has shown.

The review of more than two million people with diabetes found more than a quarter (28%) of admissions to hospital for heart failure were among people with the condition.

Furthermore, diabetics admitted to hospital for heart failure had more than quadruple the odds of dying in the following year compared to the general population.

The National Diabetes Audit, which covers England and Wales, found the risk of premature death among people with diabetes was much higher - there were 24,900 more deaths in 2012 than would normally be expected.

Among people with Type 1 diabetes, which usually develops in childhood, 3,300 died in 2012, whereas 1,440 would have been expected among the same number of the general population.

This gives a 129% increased risk of death for people with Type 1 diabetes compared to the general population, the audit said.

Of those with Type 2, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity, 70,900 died during 2012, whereas 52,800 would have been expected among the same number of the general population, giving a 34% increased risk of death for people with Type 2 diabetes.

The audit is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) in partnership with Diabetes UK and is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).

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Dr Bob Young, clinical lead for the audit, said: "This audit is a wake-up call.

"Heart failure is preventable and treatable.

"Every health professional should take note of how much more common heart failure is among patients with diabetes and how high the short-term risk of death is."

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "The finding that every fourth person admitted to hospital with heart failure has diabetes is a stark illustration of how we are facing an epidemic of diabetes-related complications.

"It is deeply concerning that people with diabetes are 73% more likely to develop heart failure than the rest of the population and in many tragic cases this is leading to people dying before their time.

"There is no great mystery about why the rate is so high, as we know that half of people with diabetes have high blood pressure and a quarter have high cholesterol.

"All those people are at increased risk of heart disease and we need to address this urgently.

"Given how much higher their risk is, it is vital that people with diabetes have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked at least once a year and that if they are high then they are supported in lowering them.

"While most people do get these two checks, there are still significant numbers who don't and this is particularly the case with people with Type 1.

"But our biggest concern is that too often these checks are not then leading to lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure and it is only by improving this situation that we will finally start to bring the diabetes-related heart disease epidemic under control."

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England's national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said: "This report shows some very significant links between diabetes and heart failure which, now highlighted, are a call to health professionals to address the issues raised.

"Heart disease and stroke dominate the complications of diabetes but heart failure, its most common and deadly cardiovascular complication, is preventable.

"We want to reduce premature mortality further in patients with diabetes and when heart failure has developed outcomes can be improved by both certain drugs and targeted rehabilitation.

"Good care for people with diabetes should be a priority and the 2011-12 national heart failure audit identified many more opportunities to increase the use of these interventions in people admitted to hospital with heart failure."