Younger people with Type 2 diabetes have a bigger risk than older people with the condition of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to new research.
The research also showed that, although under-40s with Type 2 diabetes have a greater risk of getting heart disease than their counterparts over 40, they are less likely to receive treatment for it – particularly if they are women.
Researchers presenting at Diabetes UK’s Annual Professional Conference found that although those diagnosed earlier in life had had diabetes for a shorter amount of time, a high proportion of them had high blood pressure, their blood glucose control was poorer and they were more likely to be morbidly obese than the older group.
Dr Song from the Diabetes Centre in the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, carried out the research. He said: “Type 2 diabetes is no longer confined to the middle-aged and elderly population. We are seeing an increasing number of young adults diagnosed with this condition.
“Because this fast-growing group of younger people are getting Type 2 diabetes, they have to live with the condition for longer so are more at risk of developing the cardiovascular complications that diabetes can bring.
“More research needs to focus on this important and growing group, addressing the actual risk of developing heart disease and stroke complications and whether treatments such as blood-pressure and cholesterol lowering can significantly reduce this risk.
“Lack of evidence in this area presents a very real clinical dilemma to diabetologists and may explain the lower cholesterol and blood pressure treatment in this group.”
Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services at Diabetes UK, said: “This research is extremely worrying, particularly in light of the fact that we already know that 80 per cent of people with diabetes die of CVD. We are sitting on a health time bomb that will have a huge human and monetary cost if we do not take action now.”