Australians with Type-2 Diabetes More Likely to Suffer Heart Attack
By Grant McArthur, Herald Sun
AUSTRALIANS with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than the rest of the population, a grim new report has found.
The 1.5 million Australians with type 2 diabetes are also wiping almost a decade from their lives — with life expectancy dropping 8.2 years for men and 9.1 years for women with the lifestyle-related disease.
With the obesity epidemic now seeing more than 80,000 Australians under the age of 40 living with the type 2 diabetes, a national snapshot by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute adds to the calls for greater government interventions such as a sugar tax or fresh food pricing relief.
Despite medication advances allowing for better control of blood glucose levels to cut their risk of kidney disease, loss of sight and limb complications, report author Prof Jonathon Shaw said little had been done to cut the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is responsible for one in three deaths in people with type 2 diabetes.
“Twenty or 30 years ago, seeing people with type 2 diabetes under 40 or even 50 was uncommon,” Prof Shaw said.
“Now, it has become routine — and the earlier you get it, the more trouble it causes.”
To be released on Tuesday, The Dark Heart of Type 2 Diabetes report reveals diabetics are much more prone to heart failure and twice as likely to drop dead from sudden cardiac death, despite having no warning of the condition.
About 45,000 Australian diabetics experience a cardiovascular event each year and the danger is only reduced by overhauling blood pressure, cholesterol, diet and exercise as well as glucose levels.
The Baker report, which was backed by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly, also states the annual cost of medical care and government subsidies to deal with type 2 diabetes has passed $10 billion.
While individuals can cut their chances of developing type 2 diabetes with improved diet and exercise, Prof Shaw said merely telling the public of the dangers had a limited impact and was not holding back the tide of disease.
Just as education campaigns were supplemented by higher taxes, fines, advertising and restrictions to cut smoking and road deaths, Prof Shaw believes governments need to introduce tough regulations to save society from the obesity epidemic, diabetes and its associated cardiac vascular disease.
“At a population level, it is very clear that there is a limited amount that many people can do,” he said.
“It is much more about the way we build our society with government regulations, advertising and these sorts of things.”
This article was originally posted on the Herald Sun on January 29, 2018.