To stop smoking is especially
important for diabetics © SXC
Diabetics can face a five times increase in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) than non-diabetics. This leads to a seven to ten year reduction in life expectancy and a higher probability of suffering a fatal heart attack.
These sad statistics have prompted the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) to mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2010 by emphasizing the simple measures that diabetes patients should adopt to slow-down the progression of CVD and greatly improve their quality of life.
The urgency of addressing this issue is highlighted by forecasts of 330 million diabetes cases worldwide by 2050. This figure represents a staggering three percent of the predicted global population. The mechanisms that link the onset of diabetes with subsequent development of CVD include above-average lipid levels, inflammation of vascular walls, high blood pressure, and an excess of ‘bad’ cholesterol produced by the liver.
Additionally, the effects of continuing to smoke are particularly potent for diabetics, with a dramatic increase in mortality rates being an inevitable outcome. Despite this, most diabetics can greatly alleviate the symptoms of CVD by making sensible diet and lifestyle choices.
Speaking for the ESC, Professor Joep Perk of the School of Health and Caring Sciences at Linneaus University in Sweden says, “The impact of growing obesity levels is pushing Type 2 diabetes into an epidemic. It is a very serious problem for healthcare providers due to the cost of treatment, but also for cardiologists who now see diabetes prevention as one of the main health challenges. Around 60 percent of cardiovascular patients nowadays are pre-diabetic or diabetic, a significant increase from our experience of 20 years ago.”
Diabetics with CVD are urged to follow the ESC recommendations for patients which, quite simply, are summarized as:
• Eat a healthy diet
• Exercise more
• Stop smoking
• Limit alcohol intake
“Following this common sense advice will have a very positive impact on the progression of CVD. Although it would be good advice for non-diabetics, for diabetics it is literally a matter of life or death,” says Professor Perk. “The complications of CVD when added to the underlying effects of diabetes are a dangerous combination that should be avoided at all costs. This is why we stress the importance of diet and lifestyle changes to manage the progression of CVD.”
REHACARE.de; Source: European Society of Cardiology (ESC)