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South Asian people with Type 2 diabetes in Scotland at higher risk of heart disease

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People with Type 2 diabetes in the Pakistani community in Scotland are at higher risk of heart disease than people from a White European background, according to new research presented at Diabetes UK’s Diabetes Professional Conference today.

According to the study by the Scottish Diabetes Research Network Epidemiology Group (Chair Dr. Robert Lindsay), people with Type 2 diabetes who are of Pakistani descent are 50 per cent more likely to develop heart disease, and about 10-15 years earlier than people from a White European background. People from a Pakistani background also developed diabetes on average 10 years earlier – at the age of 49 compared to 59.

A growing problem in the community

Type 2 diabetes is up to six times more common in people of South Asian decent, and is a growing problem in the community. People from a south Asian background are also at risk of Type 2 diabetes form the age of 25, rather than 40 in the White European population.

Jane-Claire Judson, National Director for Diabetes UK Scotland, said: “This study highlights once again how important it is that everyone from the South Asian community is aware of their Type 2 diabetes risk and gets checked from the age of 25. The condition can go undiagnosed for up to 10 years, by which time devastating complications, including heart disease, can have already begun to develop.

“If you are from the South Asian community and are aged over 25 then it is worth speaking to your doctor.

“If you are from the South Asian community and are aged over 25 then it is worth speaking to your doctor.

“This study also shows the importance that people with diabetes in the South Asian community get the ongoing support and healthcare they need to help reduce their risk of heart disease, which is a complication of diabetes that is particularly common in this community. Diabetes UK has been working with South Asian communities in Glasgow over the past three years raising awareness and understanding of diabetes. We are supporting people to make simple lifestyle changes which could have a big impact on their future.”

Dr. Omar Malik, lead researcher for the study, said: “This research has shown us some interesting links between people in the Pakistani community with Type 2 diabetes in Scotland and developing heart disease as a complication.”

Genetics play a part

Professor John Petrie, one of the supervisors of the project at the University of Glasgow, said: “More research needs to be done to understand the possible reasons behind this link. It’s possible that genetics play a part, but lifestyle should also be examined.”The research used data from 156,991 records from the Scottish Care Information – Diabetes Collaboration (SCI-DC), Scottish Morbidity Records (SMR0) and National Records of Scotland.The Diabetes UK Professional Conference is one of the UK’s largest healthcare meetings and this year is in Liverpool from March 5 to March 7.

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