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22 February 2018

Media release

Younger age at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes linked to cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease and stroke mortality 

New Australian research shows that the younger a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the greater the chance they have of dying from cardiovascular related diseases.

Professor Dianna Magliano, Head of Diabetes and Population Health at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute said type 2 diabetes was once considered as a disease of middle-aged and older people, but in recent decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adolescents and young adults has risen considerably around the world, driven largely by increasing obesity prevalence at younger ages.

Professor Magliano said, “The proportion of younger people with diabetes is increasing in many places in the world. The data from 743,709 Australians with type 2 diabetes via the National Diabetes Services Scheme between 1997 and 2011 were examined”.

“Our research showed that a younger age at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is associated with a higher death rate from cardiovascular diseases, such as ischaemic heart disease and stroke, compared with diagnosis at an older age.

“Thus, for two men of the same age but ten 10 years’ difference in diabetes duration, the one with the earlier onset (and hence the longer duration of diabetes) has, over the next 7 years, an approximately 30% and 60% greater risk of death from any cause and from CVD, respectively, relative to the person with the shorter duration.”

Professor Jonathan Shaw, Head of Clinical Diabetes Research at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, said the findings, published in Diabetologia, suggest that early and aggressive cardiovascular risk factor management may be needed for young-onset type 2 diabetes.

“Our findings suggest that younger onset type 2 diabetes increases mortality risk, and that this is mainly through earlier CVD mortality. Efforts to treat younger adults with type 2 diabetes more aggressively, and to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes might, therefore, reduce mortality,” said Prof Shaw.

”A healthy diet and regular physical activity are essential tools at all ages to minimise the risks of developing diabetes and its cardiovascular complications. It should also be remembered that everyone can make a difference to their health trajectory by leading a healthy lifestyle.”


For further information or to organise interviews please contact:

Suzana Talevski
T: 03 8532 1240
M: 0439 977 203
E: suzana.talevski@baker.edu.au

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