Heart Attack More Likely To Kill Diabetics Than Non-Diabetics

A heart attack is more likely to kill a person with diabetes than one without. Diabetics are 56 percent more likely to die if they have a heart attack caused by a completely blocked coronary artery than non-diabetics. In cases where a partially blocked coronary artery causes the heart attack, diabetics are 39 percent more likely to die.

According to WebMD, these findings come from a study involving 700,000 people hospitalized with a heart attack between January 2003 and June 2013. Some 121,000 of the subjects were diabetics.

Lead researcher Dr. Chris Gale, a consultant cardiologist and associate professor at the United Kingdom’s University of Leeds School of Medicine, touted the results as proof that diabetes was a significant long-term concern for patients who’d suffered a heart attack. He issued this statement in a university press release.

“Although these days people are more likely than ever to survive a heart attack, we need to place greater focus on the long-term effects of diabetes in heart attack survivors.”

On April 6, 2016, the World Health Organization in Geneva indicated that the number of heart attack-prone diabetics almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, mostly living in developing countries. WHO drew this picture in advance of its annual World Health Day (April 7) to celebrate the group’s founding in 1948, and call for action on diabetes. Overweight and obesity figured high among the usual suspects being named diabetes instigators.

CPR on dummy
The heart attack-prone diabetic often suffers elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). The condition happens when the pancreas cannot produce enough of the insulin hormone to regulate blood sugar, or when the body is unable to use the insulin it produces.

Dr. Mike Knapton, an associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation funding the Leeds study, elaborated on the correlation between a heart attack and diabetes.

“We knew that following a heart attack, you are less likely to survive if you also have diabetes. However, we did not know if this observation was due to having diabetes or having other conditions which are commonly seen in people with diabetes.”

According to MNT, the American Diabetes Association estimates that 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes. Their being in a physical state that could trigger a heart attack increases the health risk.

Diabetic sufferers fall under two categories, type 2 or type 1, both putting them at risk of a heart attack. As the more common form, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to use the insulin hormone effectively, resulting in abnormal blood glucose levels. Accounting for around 5 percent of all diabetes cases, type 1 diabetes arises when the body cannot produce enough insulin.

Poor eating habits
Aside from heart attack, people everywhere with diabetes are vulnerable to a host of other health concerns, including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. And with population growth worldwide, the number of diabetics has increased exponentially. In 2014, 422 million adults or 8.5 percent of the global population had diabetes, compared with 108 million or 4.7 percent in 1980.

In 2014, more than one in three adults aged over 18 years in the U.S. were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese. These statistics mean that an increasing number of people are at risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation. Even worse, the likelihood of lower limb amputation is 10 to 20 times higher for people with diabetes.

Of the 3.7 million diabetes-related deaths worldwide in 2012 due to heart attack and cardiovascular disease, as well as other complications, some 43 percent occurred prematurely, before the age of 70 years. Researchers consider them preventable through supportive environments for healthy lifestyles, better detection and early treatment.

What diabetics can practice to avoid being ambushed by a heart attack is preventive management. They can experiment with generic medicines, participate in interventions to promote healthy lifestyles, be knowledgeable about self-care, and be regularly examined for cardiovascular deterioration.

According to Science Daily, Dr. Anna Morris, head of Research Funding at Diabetes UK, believes in a common sense approach to preventing a heart attack. While managing diabetes can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, she also encourages developing healthy habits.

“This includes eating healthily, keeping active and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor. It’s essential that people with diabetes get the support they need to do this effectively, and that we continue to fund research across the UK aimed at preventing the onset of complications in the first place.”

Her sage advice can be applied anywhere in the world where the unexpected heart attack continues to be a worry for diabetics.

[Photo by Theo Heimann/Getty Images]