I am
The diabetes and heart disease threat not on our radar
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

The diabetes and heart disease threat not on our radar

Media Release - 18 May 2019

Having diabetes puts you at greater risk of coronary heart disease, yet research suggests the link between the conditions is not widely known.

Heart disease, including coronary heart disease, is a major cause of death among people with diabetes, a chronic condition marked by high blood sugar levels. People with diabetes can be up to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who do not have diabetes.

Despite the worrying statistics, Heart Foundation research indicates a lack of awareness about this connection, with just 2% of people surveyed nominating diabetes as a risk factor for heart disease.

Heart Foundation General Manager of Heart Health, Bill Stavreski, says Australians cannot afford to underestimate the impact diabetes can have on their heart health.

Uncontrolled diabetes puts you in the danger zone for developing heart disease, so it’s concerning to see recognition of this key risk factor is so poor.

“When it comes to heart disease, people are more likely to focus on lifestyle risk factors, such as diet and exercise, rather than clinical risk factors. While important, common conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure also need to be on our radar.”

More than 150,000 Australians are living with both diabetes and coronary heart disease.

High blood glucose levels from diabetes, which affects almost 1.2 million Australians, can damage blood vessels in the heart and make them more likely to develop fatty deposits over time.

People with diabetes – particularly type 2 diabetes – are at higher risk of heart attack or stroke because they are also more likely to have other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight or obese.

If you are 45 years and over, or from 30 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, the best way to understand your risk of heart disease starts with going to your GP for a Heart Health Check.

A Heart Health Check will involve your GP measuring your blood sugar levels, as well as recording other necessary risk factors, to calculate your risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next five years.

Many risk factors can be managed by making lifestyle changes and taking appropriate medications as prescribed, and your doctor will support you in taking the necessary steps to improve your heart health

“It’s important to control your diabetes to help prevent a heart attack or stroke, and the increased risk of cardiovascular issues associated with diabetes is a good reason to embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle. This includes eating nutritious foods, being smoke-free, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.”

Media enquiries:
Brigid Simeoni, Media Advisor
M: 0427 619 589 E: brigid.simeoni@heartfoundation.org.au

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Could you be at risk of heart disease? Get your estimated heart age now....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Information on how air pollution, heatwaves and bushfires can impact heart health, and what you can do to look after yourself. ...

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information on women and heart disease for consumers....

Heart disease and pregnancy

Heart disease and pregnancy

Heart disease and pregnancy

Pregnancy is often referred to as the “ultimate stress test” for the body....

Automated Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD or AICD)

Automated Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD or AICD)

This is a device inserted into your chest to return abnormal heart rhythms to normal using electrical impulses. ...

Moroccan vegetarian tray bake

Moroccan vegetarian tray bake

Moroccan vegetarian tray bake

30 minutes
Serves 4

Active Living NSW

Active Living NSW

Active Living NSW

Active Living NSW supports physical activity and healthy built environments in NSW ...

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Explore some useful things to know about intimacy after a heart attack....

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

Our programs and initiatives

The Heart Foundation delivers innovative, evidence-based programs and initiatives to support and prevent heart disease in Australia...

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

40-50 minutes
Serves 6

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia where your heart beats irregularly and fast....

Order patient resources online

Order patient resources online

Search and order from our range of printed patient resources online. ...

Pregnancy and heart disease

Pregnancy and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

2022 Future Leader Fellowship

2022 Future Leader Fellowship

Future Leader Fellows are emerging leaders – the best and brightest in cardiovascular research....

Mediterranean antipasto pizza

Mediterranean antipasto pizza

Mediterranean antipasto pizza

10 minutes
Serves 2 (1 pizza per serve)

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....

For professionals: Heart failure tools and resources

For professionals: Heart failure tools and resources

Resources for healthcare professionals on the management of patients with heart failure ...

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Explore our research award recipients and projects...

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Remember a loved one with a tribute

Honour the life of a loved one with a donation to the Heart Foundation. Your donation offers hope for Australian hearts....

One pan honey mustard chicken

One pan honey mustard chicken

One pan honey mustard chicken

30 minutes
Serves 4

Q&A with Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Q&A with Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Q&A with Associate Professor Gary Sacks

Policies for creating healthier food environments: increasing evidence and accountability for action ...

Heart Week

Heart Week

How your heart works

How your heart works

How your heart works

Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. ...