health

Diabetics still unaware of heart disease risk

Multi-country study finds that many diabetics still ignore risk of top killer

17:44 December 6, 2017

Abu Dhabi: Although cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death among Type 2 diabetics, many patients still consider their personal risk of developing the disease to be low, a multi-country survey has found.

According to the initial results of the study, organised by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), nearly one in four diabetics who participated were unaware about their risk for developing cardiovascular disease, or had only become aware of it after many years of being a diabetic.

“Despite the huge burden of cardiovascular disease for diabetics, many patients still seem unaware. They know that blindness and amputations are possible risks of uncontrolled diabetes, yet these are far less common consequences compared to cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Shaukat Sadikot, president of the IDF for 2016-2017.

“In fact, up to 60 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes will die from early complications of cardiovascular disease, 10 to 15 years earlier than their life expectancy. This is why we need to step up awareness of this silent killer,” he added.

The survey, which is being conducted online, has currently gathered responses from 943 people, and hopes to amp up participation before it concludes in March 2018. Researchers presenting findings at the ongoing IDF Congress 2017 in the capital said they are working to reach out to national diabetes associations to garner responses, including the Emirates Diabetes Society. So far, no diabetics from the UAE have participated.

Dr Sadikot also urged health-care professionals to employ the latest tools whenever possible to ascertain cardiovascular risk among diabetics.

“Otherwise, it can be a failure on the part of the doctor to prevent premature death,” he urged.