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World Diabetes Day 2015 - Move more and eat healthily to prevent diabetes and heart attack

Diabetes increases heart attack risk by up to 5 times

Move more and eat healthy food to prevent diabetes and heart attack, Europe’s leading heart doctors advised on World Diabetes Day today. This year’s campaign focuses on healthy eating as a key factor in the fight against diabetes.

Diabetes and the Heart
Risk Factors and Prevention

Sophia Antipolis, 14 November 2015: Move more and eat healthy food to prevent diabetes and heart attack, Europe’s leading heart doctors advised on World Diabetes Day today. This year’s campaign focuses on healthy eating as a key factor in the fight against diabetes.

Diabetes increases the risk of heart attack by up to 3 times in men and 5 times in women

“Type 2 diabetes doesn’t hurt, so many people don’t realise how serious it is and the impact it can have on their health,” said European Society of Cardiology (ESC) spokesperson Professor Lars Rydén. “Many patients discover they have diabetes after they have a heart attack.”

Diabetes elevates the risk of heart attack by 2 to 3 times in men and 4 to 5 times in women. “Women with diabetes are more threatened than men,” said Professor Rydén. “Compared to men, women are normally protected from cardiovascular disease up to the age of menopause after which the gender difference slowly disappears. This benefit is eliminated in women with type 2 diabetes.”

Levels of diabetes are expected to skyrocket from 387 million in 2014 to 592 million in 2035.1 Less physical activity with a decline in manual work, coupled with changes in eating and drinking habits are to blame.

Professor Rydén said: “We have an increasing supply of food including junk food which is relatively cheap and heavily advertised - soft drinks with a lot of sugar for example. The typical heart attack patient today is a sedentary, overweight person with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance, while in the past the average patient was a lean, stressed chain smoker.”

A healthy lifestyle can prevent up to 70% of type 2 diabetes.1 Being more physically active and eating healthily helps stop type 2 diabetes from developing, and in those who already have diabetes it reduces the risk of complications such as heart attacks.

Follow these simple rules to reduce your risk of diabetes and heart attack:
•    Move around more (use stairs not lift; get off the bus a stop or two before; do more housework)
•    Do moderate to vigorous physical activity at least 3 hours per week2
•    Eat leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, lean meat, unsweetened yogurt, nuts
•    Avoid junk foods, especially those with a lot of rapid carbohydrates (sugar)

“These straightforward steps can help prevent diabetes and heart disease but they require self discipline,” said Professor Rydén. “We now have rock solid scientific evidence that people who have impaired glucose tolerance,3 a pre-stage of diabetes, can reduce their chances of getting diabetes4 and of dying from heart disease or other causes5 if they move more and eat healthy food.”

He added that screening was important to identify people at high risk of diabetes who could then be given lifestyle advice to reduce their risk. The short FINDRISC questionnaire reveals who needs to take action.

Professor Rydén said: “A high score means you are at risk and a low score means you are pretty safe. If all patients waiting for an appointment with their primary care physician filled in this one-page survey, we could find out who really needs urgent lifestyle changes.”

He concluded: “It’s never too late to adopt healthy behaviours. Fill in the questionnaire and see how you score then act on the results. Diabetes is a devastating condition and you will thank yourself for keeping it at bay.”



1International Diabetes Federation
2ESC Guidelines on diabetes, pre-diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases developed in collaboration with the EASD. Eur Heart J. 2013;34:3035–3087. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht108
3Impaired glucose tolerance is a pre-stage of diabetes with the implication that blood glucose after a meal or glucose load increases above the level defined as normal, but not to that indicating diabetes.
4Li G, Zhang P, Wang J, Gregg EW, Yang W, Gong Q, Li H, Li H, Jiang Y, An Y, Shuai Y, Zhang B, Zhang J, Thompson TJ, Gerzoff RB, Roglic G, Hu Y, Bennett PH. The long-term effect of lifestyle interventions to prevent diabetes in the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study: a 20-year follow-up study. Lancet. 2008; 371:1783-1789. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60766-7.
5Li G, Zhang P, Wang J, An Y, Gong Q, Gregg EW, Yang W, Zhang B, Shuai Y, Hong J, Engelgau MM, Li H, Roglic G, Hu Y, Bennett PH. Cardiovascular mortality, all-cause mortality, and diabetes incidence after lifestyle intervention for people with impaired glucose tolerance in the Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study: a 23-year follow-up study. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014;2:474-480. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70057-9.

Notes to editor

ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0) 4 92 94 86 27

About World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes day is held every year on 14 November. The campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation and its member associations.

About the European Society of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 90 000 cardiology professionals across Europe and worldwide. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.