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Cholesterol risk concern for people with diabetes

Posted in: Heart Health 11 Sep, 2012

A charity has warned that thousands of people who have diabetes are failing to effectively control their cholesterol levels consequently putting themselves at an increased risk of heart disease. According to BBC News Health, the findings taken from a national diabetes audit by the charity Diabetes UK, showed that although a large proportionate (90%) of those with diabetes had an annual check up in order to identify any medical issues, almost 60% of them however, failed to address high cholesterol. Furthermore, those with high cholesterol were not taking enough sufficient methods to control it.

Barbara Young, the charity's chief executive voiced her concerns on those suffering with diabetes, believing that the majority were putting their health at an unnecessary risk.

Heart risk

According to the charity Diabetes UK, there are more than two million people in the UK who have the condition. Moreover, up to 750,000 more are believed to have it without realising they do.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body produces no insulin. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes is far less common with only around 10% of people affected by it. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes affects up to 90% of adults in the UK. It occurs when the body fails to produce enough insulin.

With data on 1.9 million people with diabetes in England, those suffering from diabetes have a greater risk of heart disease than those who do not have the condition. Shockingly, heart and cardiovascular is associated with 44% of deaths for type 1 sufferers and 52% of people who have type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes patients also had double the risk of suffering from a stroke within the first five years of diagnosis, compared to the rest of the population not affected by the condition.

Better care

Barbara Young emphasised the importance of cholesterol checks by stating: "It is not clear why the high number of people having their annual cholesterol check is not translating into better cholesterol control, but it is an issue that is putting the health of hundreds of thousands of people at risk. We need to emphasise that annual cholesterol checks have to be the start of a process of improving unhealthy levels.

"It will often be appropriate to prescribe medication such as statins, but it is no good doing this without explaining the importance of taking the medication regularly and the potentially devastating consequences of not doing so.

"Other ways people can help improve their cholesterol levels include losing weight, exercising daily, reducing alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and eating a healthy diet, low in fat."

Great risk

It has been estimated that by 2050, five million people will have diabetes in the UK, in which out of the two, type 2 diabetes will be the primary condition. Not only are these figures startling, they also show diabetes to be one of the prevalent health risks affecting the UK population. With the audit developed by Diabetes UK, showing the lack of people with diabetes not checking their cholesterol levels and effectively failing to bring high cholesterol down, this subsequently is not for many people, leading to an improved end result. In fact it is putting their health at greater risk.


  • Graham GirthTuesday, Sep 11, 2012

    When you have diabetes if you look after your body by keeping fit and eating healthily than your cholesterol should be fine, although its always important to get it checked

  • Victoria StandTuesday, Sep 11, 2012

    I cant believe that so many people with diabetes would not check their cholesterol levels? I am diabetic and make sure that I check every few months.

  • Jim NolanTuesday, Sep 11, 2012

    It's simple. Checking your cholesterol less chance of heart attack or stroke, especially if you have diabetes. The risk is too great otherwise

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