London: As the number of people with diabetes continues to grow, the number of diabetics who have a heart attack has doubled over the last ten years, UK researchers say.
The number of people with type 2 diabetes, the form associated with being overweight, has grown in the UK from 1.4 million in 1996 to two million. Thousands more are believed to have the disease without realising.
And around 13,000 people with type 2 diabetes are now treated for a heart attack every year, compared with less than 6,000 in 1996.
Hospital admissions for other associated diseases such as strokes and angina has also doubled among diabetics, along with keyhole heart surgery, according to a new Imperial College in London and Leicester University.
They compared the records of cardiac treatments carried out in English hospitals between April 2005 and March 2006 with those from April 1995 to March 1996.
The analysis showed that diabetics accounted for 13.9 per cent of patients treated for a heart attack in the later period, up from 7.2 per cent a decade ago.
Angina admissions had more than doubled, from 6.7 per cent to 15.3 per cent, while the proportion of diabetics among those being treated for strokes had risen from 6.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent.
The researchers looked only at type 2 diabetes, the most common form. This is usually identified in middle age, although Britons’ expanding waistlines mean more children are being diagnosed with it.
Type 2 diabetes is often controlled initially with a stringent diet and exercise regime, but many sufferers will see their condition worsen over time and will eventually need tablets or insulin injections.
The high blood sugar levels among those with diabetes make them five times as likely to develop heart disease as the rest of the population.