Diabetes epidemic to trigger '˜sharp rise' in Scots heart attacks

BHF Director for Scotland James Cant. Picture: Lisa FergusonBHF Director for Scotland James Cant. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
BHF Director for Scotland James Cant. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The number of people in the UK suffering heart attacks and strokes as a result of their diabetes will rise by 29 per cent up to the year 2035 according to new forecasts from a leading charity.

The British Heart Foundation predicted the growing number with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 more people across the UK having a heart attack within the next 20 years.

At present around 280,000 people in Scotland are living with the illness, with growing obesity rates leading to more suffering from type 2 diabetes.

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The vast majority of people with diabetes are type 2, with just 10 per cent diagnosed with type 1 in the UK.

People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, which means a rise in diabetes cases is expected to trigger a sharp increase in deadly heart and circulatory events.

In addition to heart attack and stroke, the rise in diabetes cases will increase the number of people suffering from conditions including angina and heart failure.

James Cant, director at BHF Scotland, said: “Around 280,000 people, or 6 per cent of the Scottish population, have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked with being overweight and physically inactive, accounts for 90 per cent of all case of diabetes, and incidence is rapidly increasing in Scotland.

“So we can also expect to see a sharp rise in the numbers of people suffering heart attacks and strokes.

“The BHF is currently spending £38 million on scientific research related to diabetes, much of which is taking place here in Scotland. For example, at the University of Dundee, scientists we fund are looking at a drug that could better treat people with both diabetes and heart failure.”

The charity says the figures highlight the urgent need for “bold action” to tackle lifestyle factors, such as obesity and a poor diet, that are leading to spiraling rates of type 2 diabetes, as well as greater focus within the health sector on earlier diagnosis.

Scotland’s minister for public health Joe Fitzpatrick said: “Our recently published diet and healthy weight delivery plan strives to make a significant impact on the prevention and remission of type 2 diabetes, including our commitment to invest £42m over five years for the implementation of our type 2 diabetes prevention framework.

“As a result of this additional funding, individuals will have better access to weight management services.”