Diabetes patients face 65% higher risk of heart failure

Patients with diabetes face a far greater risk of heart failure and there are large variations in complication rates across England and Wales, a report has shown.

Finger prick: diabetes patients face higher heart failure risk
Finger prick: diabetes patients face higher heart failure risk

The National Diabetes Audit found 45,001 patients with diabetes were admitted with heart failure in 2010/11 - representing a 65% higher risk of admission than the general population.

The audit, published by the NHS Information Centre, covered almost two million people with diabetes across England and Wales. It showed patients with diabetes are 48% more likely to develop MI, and found high rates of other complications including angina and stroke.

The report's authors warned there is ‘substantial variation’ in the risk of diabetic complications and deaths between different PCTs and health boards. People living in the most deprived areas are 60% more likely to be admitted with heart failure than those in the most affluent.

Anna Morton, NHS Diabetes director, said: ‘These findings show just how central effective diabetes management is in preventing heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and amputations. There needs to be a continued focus on the effective prevention and management of diabetes by healthcare professionals and managers.’

She said patients with diabetes should ask their GP if they have had all nine annual care checks for the condition.

Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: ‘It is a tragedy that a large proportion of these thousands of extra heart attacks could have been prevented simply through better education, treatment and care.’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the audit showed there was still 'unacceptable variation' in NHS care. 'That is why, in the latest GP contract, we have proposed new measures to help GPs give people with diabetes the best chance of preventing complications and help more patients control their blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.'

The DH set out its plans to raise QOF indicator thresholds for diabetes targets on Friday.

NICE is currently examining whether to merge the separate diabetes health check QOF indicators into one target.

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