What is diabetes and what causes it?Diabetes is caused by your body not being able to process glucose properly. This causes damage to your blood vessels and stops blood from flowing properly- and puts you at higher risk of heart and circulatory diseases. For example, people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people without diabetes.
What kind of research do we fund into diabetes?Our research is trying to find out how we can prevent people living with diabetes from developing heart and circulatory diseases like stroke and vascular dementia. This research is vital and could benefit people living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
There are nearly 3.7 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and there could be over 1 million more people who are undiagnosed.
Diabetes can have life changing consequencesMarc Cronin was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on the day of his 29th birthday, but his doctor told him that his condition could have been undiagnosed for 10 years. His diagnosis and subsequent complications eventually led to him suffering damage to his eyesight, a leg amputated and, because of nerve damage, he won’t be able to have any more children. Understandably this has had an enormous impact on his whole life. Marc's diabetes is now under control, but he will need to be closely monitored for the rest of his life.
What research projects are happening now?Mark Kearney is the BHF Professor of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research at the University of Leeds. He is studying how diabetes damages blood vessels, and developing ways to avoid it. This research tells us more about the links between diabetes and heart and circulatory diseases, but he has also studied how to best treat people with these conditions with medicine.
This research project is just one of hundreds we fund each year to help protect the people you love.
The difference we’ve already madeOne of our largest ever studies - the Heart Protection Study, jointly funded with the Medical Research Council, involved over 20,000 people, including 6,000 people with diabetes. The study revealed that the risk of a heart attack or stroke can be reduced by lowering levels of harmful LDL cholesterol. Now, cholesterol-lowering statin medicines are often prescribed to people with diabetes, and help prevent thousands of heart attacks every year.
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