Hughes Hall fellow, Dr Gráinne Long, is an author of a new paper, e-published ahead of print by the American journal ‘Diabetes Care’. The paper details a study, led by Dr Long, which concluded that healthy behavioural changes reduce newly-diagnosed diabetics’ risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
With the rate of diagnoses of diabetes growing in many industrialised countries, and large numbers of people at risk of being diagnosed in the future, there is increased incentive for early detection screening and promoting ways to reduce the health problems associated with the disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics have an increased risk of heart disease, including two to four times a greater likelihood of suffering a stroke or heart-related mortality.
Dr Long studied 867 recently diagnosed type 2 diabetics, and followed their behaviour over a median five years. Roughly half were asked to follow standard UK behavioural guidelines for diabetics, while the others were given an intensive intervention programme of behavioural changes, including quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, increasing physical activity, and introducing a healthy diet.
After assessing participants’ healthy behavioural changes and the number of cardiovascular issues that patients suffered, the study found that participants who changed just two behaviours were 70% more likely to have a heart problem than those who changed three or four behaviours. While participants who did not introduce any behavioural changes, or changed just one behaviour, were 400% more likely to suffer a cardiovascular problem.
Dr Long said, “The lifestyle changes appear to be beneficial for older and younger patients, for men and women from different social groups, and for people taking several or few medications… We concluded that if practitioners can support newly diagnosed patients to achieve and maintain these goals this could help reduce the burden of diabetes-related morbidity and mortality.”
Dr Peter Butler, University of California, Los Angeles, stated that Dr Long’s study was particularly significant for its combination of effectiveness of treatment and the relative ease of making lifestyle changes when compared to introducing pharmaceutical medication.
“So all of this can be accomplished with minimal risks and now we discover maximum benefits,” he said.
You can read more about this study on the Reuters website.
Hughes Hall Fellow, Dr Gráinne Long