Following heart health guidelines may also reduce diabetes risk, finds US research

Science Daily | January 2019 | Following heart health guidelines also reduces diabetes risk

Lifestyle characteristics that are associated with supporting a healthy heart have also been found to reduce the risk of diabetes, in a new US study.  Researchers at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, assessed diabetes among 7,758 participants in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study and used the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 as a guide for measuring heart health among the group.



The Simple 7 health factors and lifestyle behaviours characteristics are:

  • physical activity
  • diet
  • weight
  • cholesterol
  • blood pressure
  • blood glucose
  • tobacco use

Overall, the study participants who were in the recommended, ideal ranges for at least four of the seven health factors had a 70 per cent lower risk of developing diabetes over the next decade.

Lead author of the study Dr. Joshua J. Joseph, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said:

“What’s interesting is when we compared people who had normal blood glucose and those who already had impaired blood glucose; those in normal levels who attained four or more guideline factors had an 80 percent lower risk of developing diabetes. Those who were already diabetic or prediabetic and met four of the factors had no change in lowering their risk for diabetes.”

He added: “Healthy people need to work to stay healthy. Follow the guidelines. Don’t proceed to high blood sugar and then worry about stopping diabetes. By that point, people need high-intensity interventions that focus on physical activity and diet to promote weight loss and, possibly, medications to lower the risk of diabetes.”

Read the full news story from Science Daily

The findings are published in the latest issue of Diabetologia 


Ideal cardiovascular health (CVH) is associated with lower diabetes risk. However, it is unclear whether this association is similar across glycaemic levels (normal [<5.6 mmol/l] vs impaired fasting glucose [IFG] [5.6–6.9 mmol/l]).



A secondary data analysis was performed in the REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Incident diabetes was assessed among 7758 participants without diabetes at baseline (2003–2007) followed over 9.5 years. Baseline cholesterol, blood pressure, diet, smoking, physical activity and BMI were used to categorise participants based on the number (0–1, 2–3 and more than or equal to 4) of ideal CVH components. Risk ratios (RRs) were calculated using modified Poisson regression, adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors.


Among participants (mean age 63.0 [SD 8.4] years, 56% female, 73% white, 27% African-American), there were 891 incident diabetes cases. Participants with equal to or more than 4 vs 0–1 ideal CVH components with normal fasting glucose (n = 6004) had 80% lower risk, while participants with baseline IFG (n = 1754) had 13% lower risk.  Additionally, the magnitude of the association of ideal CVH components with lower diabetes risk was stronger among white than African-American participants (p for interaction = 0.0338).



A higher number of ideal CVH components was associated with a dose-dependent lower risk of diabetes for participants with normal fasting glucose but not IFG. Tailored efforts that take into account observed differences by race and glycaemic level are needed for the primordial prevention of diabetes.


Science Daily Following heart health guidelines also reduces diabetes risk

This article is available to Rotherham NHS staff  and can be requested here 

Early age of type 1 diabetes diagnosis linked to greater heart risks and shorter life expectancy, compared to later diagnosis

University of Glasgow | August 2018 | Early age of type 1 diabetes diagnosis linked to greater heart risks and shorter life expectancy, compared to later diagnosis

Researchers at the University of Glasgow have found that early onset for type 1 diabetes is linked to a shorter life expectancy, by an average of 16 years shorter than a patient without diabetes. For those diagnosed with type 1 later in life,  their lifespan is 10 years shorter than people without a diagnosis of diabetes (via University of Glasgow). life-stage-icon-2889015_1280.png


The research, which is published in The Lancet, is a longitudinal observational study in Sweden that tracked over 27, 000 people with type 1 for an average of 10 years.

Although it is well established that  patients with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk of health problems and have shorter life expectancies, partly due to premature cardiovascular disease. Until this point the impact of age of diagnosis on this excess mortality and cardiovascular risk was unclear. In order to contribute to the limited evidence base, the researchers calculated the excess risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, acute heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation in 27,195 individuals from the Swedish National Diabetes Register compared to 135,178 controls matched for age, sex, and county from the general population (average age 29 years).

After adjustment for a range of variables that could have influenced the results  among them but not limited to  age, sex, , diabetes duration, and previous history of cardiovascular complications. The researchers found cardiovascular risks and survival were strongly related to the participant’s age at disease onset, with people diagnosed under the age of 10 having five-fold increased risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease than those diagnosed at age 26-30 years. The younger group also had much higher risk of heart failure and stroke than peers without diabetes and those diagnosed at an older age.

These new estimates suggest that individuals diagnosed before the age of 10 have a 30-times greater risk of serious cardiovascular outcomes like heart attack (0.31 cases per 100,000 person years for participants with diabetes vs 0.02 cases in every 100,000 person-years for controls) and heart disease than those in the general population, whilst risk levels are around six times higher for people diagnosed between ages 26 and 30 (Source: University of Glasgow).

Read the full, unedited news release from the University of Glasgow


Diabetes epidemic predicted to increase rise in heart attacks and stroke

British Heart Foundation | August 2018 | Growing diabetes epidemic to trigger ‘sharp rise’ in heart attacks and strokes by 2035

Currently  in England, nearly 4 million people are living with diabetes. Extrapolation of data based on the increasing number of people with diabetes predicts that almost  39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 – a rise of 9,000 compared to 2015 – and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke – a rise of 11,000.


BHF expect that to rise to over 5 million over the next 20 years, as a result of the population’s  worsening lifestyles and the UK’s growing obesity rates.  As well as the increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, this rise in diabetes cases will increase the number of people suffering from conditions including angina and heart failure. BHF forecasts this will put further pressure on the NHS with previous estimates suggesting the yearly cost of treating people with diabetes will be £16.9 billion by 2035, up from £9.8 billion in 2012.

BHF are underlining  urgent need for ‘bold action’ to tackle lifestyle factors, such as obesity and a poor diet, that are leading to spiraling rates of diabetes, as well as a greater focus within the health sector on earlier diagnosis.

Read the full news story at BHF 

In the news:

BBC News Rise in diabetes ‘to cause surge in heart disease and strokes’

Sky News Diabetes epidemic set to cause surge in heart attacks and strokes

Daily Mail  Britain’s diabetes time-bomb: Rise of Type 2 will cause heart attacks and strokes to soar over the coming years with 30% increase in serious illnesses linked to the condition

The Telegraph Obesity epidemic will fuel 30 per cent rise in heart attacks in 2035

Times Diabetes means big rise in heart attacks

The Guardian Diabetes epidemic ‘will lead to rise in heart attacks and strokes’