Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before turning 40 are ‘THREE TIMES as likely to die young from a heart attack or stroke’
- Type 2 diabetes rates have soared in recent years with spiralling obesity levels
- Glasgow University researchers looked at around 2million people for the study
- Those diagnosed before 40 had the greatest risk for early death or a heart attack
Patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes while under 40 are twice as likely to die early as their peers, a study found.
Those who develop the condition before middle age are almost three times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke, with women particularly at risk.
The risk declined steadily with age with those diagnosed at 80 or older having the same chances of dying early as those without diabetes.
Experts said the findings show greater emphasis should be put on prevention of the condition – which is strongly linked to obesity – especially in younger women.
Those who develop the condition before middle age are almost three times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke, with women particularly at risk
Type 2 diabetes rates have soared in recent years with spiralling obesity levels resulting in growing numbers of adolescents and young adults being diagnosed.
Researchers from Glasgow University wanted to compare the excess risks of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease in diabetes patients, taking into account how long they have had the condition.
They looked at 318,083 patients with type 2 diabetes and almost 1.6million people without for heart disease-related conditions, using data over 15 years.
During an average follow-up of nearly two and half years, researchers compared results to control participants of similar age without type 2 diabetes.
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition which causes a person’s blood sugar to get too high.
More than 4million people in the UK are thought to have some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you may be more likely to get it if it’s in the family.
The condition means the body does not react properly to insulin – the hormone which controls absorption of sugar into the blood – and cannot properly regulate sugar glucose levels in the blood.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.
Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.
It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, vision and the heart.
Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more serious cases may require medication.
Source: NHS Choices; Diabetes.co.uk
They found those diagnosed before age 40 had the greatest excess risk for death, stroke, heart attack, heart failure or atrial fibrillation.
Women generally carried higher excess risks of cardiovascular disease and death than men.
These risks also declined steadily with the age of diagnosis, according to the findings published in American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
But patients diagnosed before the age of 40 had almost five times the risk of heart failure and more than four times the risk of heart disease.
Patients who developed the condition before adulthood tended to live more than a decade less than their healthier peers, the study found.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine and lead author of the study, said it showed health interventions should be targeted at younger patients with or at risk of type 2 diabetes.
‘Our study shows the differences in excess diabetes risk are tied to the how old the person is when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,’ he said.
‘This suggests we need to be more aggressive in controlling risk factors in younger type 2 diabetes populations and especially in women.
‘And, far less effort and resources could be spent screening people 80 and older for type 2 diabetes unless symptoms are present.
‘Furthermore, our work could also be used to encourage middle-aged people at elevated diabetes risk to adopt lifestyle changes to delay their diabetes by several years.’