Conference Coverage

Cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes: Patients are often clueless

 

Key clinical point: What most people with type 2 diabetes don’t know about their cardiovascular risk could get them killed.

Major finding: More than half of patients with type 2 diabetes who participated in an online survey were unaware that their disease places them at increased cardiovascular risk.

Study details: This online, cross-sectional survey included 1,869 respondents.

Disclosures: The For Your Sweetheart survey was supported by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly. The presenter is a Boehringer Ingelheim employee.

Source: Pak J. ACC 18.


 

REPORTING FROM ACC 2018

– What most people with type 2 diabetes don’t know about their cardiovascular risk could get them killed.

A national online survey revealed a surprising lack of awareness among patients with type 2 diabetes and their loved ones regarding the well-established significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality associated with the disease.

Dr. Jonathan Pak, director of metabolism at Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, Conn. Bruce Jancin/MDedge News

Dr. Jonathan Pak

This is an association that physicians are well aware of. Yet the cross-sectional online survey, which included 501 patients with type 2 diabetes, revealed that while they had a good grasp of their increased risk of microvascular complications such as neuropathy and nephropathy, only one-third of them were aware that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people with type 2 diabetes. An even lower proportion (31%) of the 364 respondents to the For Your Sweetheart survey, people who have a friend or loved one with type 2 diabetes but don’t have the disease themselves, were aware of this fact.

The same low rate of awareness was present in the general population, as represented by the 1,004 controls who didn’t have type 2 diabetes or know anyone who did, Jonathan Pak, PharmD, reported at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.

“We thought patient awareness would be higher, but some who I think understand this space better are surprised it’s even this high,” Dr. Pak said in an interview.

Putting aside the widespread lack of awareness of cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes, 52% of the patients with type 2 diabetes and a similar proportion of their loved ones were unaware that type 2 diabetes is associated with any increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other macrovascular events, noted Dr. Pak, director of metabolism at Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, Conn.

There was a strong whiff of denial in the patients’ attitudes. For example, only 24% of the group with type 2 diabetes rated themselves as “likely” to have an amputation in the future, yet they rated 42% of others with type 2 disease as likely to undergo amputation. The same attitude pertained to the prospect of having an acute MI: It’s the others who are at increased risk, not me.

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