Type 2 diabetes often linked to cardiovascular disease

14/11/2017 15:20
People aged 45 years or older who indicate they have type 2 diabetes are more likely to report suffering from long-term disorders such as cardiovascular disease than over-45s without diabetes. Almost 9 out of 10 diabetics are receiving medications to treat a cardiovascular disorder besides receiving diabetes medication. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on a new analysis, using figures obtained from the National Health Survey (GezondheidsenquĂȘte) and register data on dispensed medicines.
CBS carries out annual Health Surveys in order to build up overviews of health conditions, medical contacts, lifestyle as well as preventive behaviour among the Dutch population. One of the questions asked is whether the respondent is experiencing persistent physical problems such as diabetes. Based on completed questionnaires, a distinction is drawn between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes increases with age; in 2014/2016, altogether 8 percent of respondents aged 45 and over reported this form of diabetes, while the share was close to 14 percent for those aged 75 and over. The self-perceived health of people aged 45 and over suffering from diabetes is often rated less favourably than that of their peers without diabetes: almost 40 percent report their own health perception as favourable versus over 71 percent among the latter group.

Other chronic conditions

Type 2 diabetes is often co-occurrent with various other health problems, mainly cardiovascular and musculoskeletal disorders. In the twelve months prior to the survey, more than 60 percent of respondents aged 45 and over with this form of diabetes also suffered from a cardiovascular disorder. This share was 28 percent among people without type 2 diabetes.
Musculoskeletal disorders (bones, joints, muscles, tendons and nerves) are often more co-occurrent among diabetics as well; 56 percent report such conditions versus 39 percent of people in this age group without type 2 diabetes. Other conditions more often reported by diabetics than by non-diabetics are skin and kidney diseases as well as visual impairments.

High blood pressure more common among diabetics

High blood pressure (a disorder of the heart and blood vessels) is more than twice as prevalent among diabetics aged 45 and over than among their non-diabetic peers: 56 versus 25 percent. In the age group 45 to 64 years, the share of people with high blood pressure among diabetics is even close to three times higher than among their non-diabetic peers, whether male of female. The discrepancy is smaller among people aged 75 and over.

Medicines dispensed to diabetics

Registration data on dispensed medicines show that 9 percent of the population aged 45 years and over were receiving anti-diabetic medication in 2015 (including insuline and other blood sugar lowering medication). Ten percent of this group only received insuline, while 70 percent only received other types of blood sugar lowering medication; 20 percent received both.
Over 90 percent of patients on anti-diabetic medication also received one or more types of medication for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. This share is 50 percent among non-diabetics. All other age groups show a similar ratio, for both men and women, as well as among different types of anti-diabetic treatment.
Among those with anti-diabetic treatment, the most frequently prescribed cardiovascular agents are cholesterol-lowering medicines: almost 80 percent of people receiving both diabetic and cardiovascular medicines are given cholesterol-lowering medicine.