Medic warns: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease

Medic warns: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease

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Diabetes is more than a diabetes

People with diabetes lose an average of six years of life due to their illness. "In combination with a heart attack, there can be as many as twelve on average," warns Dr. Ludwin Ley. With diabetes, it is not only necessary to keep an eye on blood sugar. The disease is also considered a risk factor for heart diseases and events such as a heart attack, stroke and premature death.

Dr. Ludwin Ley is a medical doctor at Boehringer Ingelheim, the largest research-based pharmaceutical company in Germany. He reports of a paradigm shift in diabetes therapy, in which not only blood sugar control is the focus of treatment, but also heart monitoring.

Type 1 or type 2? The differences are enormous

As Ley emphasizes, there is initially a huge difference in treatment between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells. As a result, no own insulin can be formed. The regular administration of insulin is basically the only therapy for people with type 1 diabetes. The situation is completely different with type 2 diabetes. In many sufferers, this disease was presumably acquired through malnutrition, overweight and lack of exercise. Unlike type 1, the beta cells in the pancreas still produce enough insulin, but the body is increasingly resistant to it.

Every sixth death in Germany is associated with diabetes

Especially with the much more widespread type 2 diabetes, new treatment recommendations are becoming increasingly popular, such as Dr. Ley told Pharma Facts e.V. It is still not well known that diabetes is also a risk factor for serious cardiovascular diseases. "According to epidemiological data, every sixth death in Germany is associated with diabetes," said Ley.

Diabetes advances cardiovascular events ten years

Several studies have already shown that diabetes increases the risk of heart failure in addition to the known damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves. The onset of such cardiac insufficiency is delayed by a whole ten years due to diabetes. According to Ley, severe cardiovascular events such as a heart attack could also occur earlier. Diseases that usually manifest at the age of 70 or 80 often appear in combination with diabetes between the ages of 60 and 70.

Treat blood sugar and risk of heart disease together

For this reason, long-term therapies are already being researched, which not only treat the blood sugar level, but also reduce the cardiovascular risk. In 1998, the antidiabetic drug metformin was the first to reduce the risk of heart disease. As Ley reports, other agents from the class of SGLT-2 inhibitors and GLP-1 analogues have been added in recent years, which further reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

New treatment recommendations for type 2 diabetes

According to Ley, international guidelines for the treatment of type 2 diabetes are already one step further than the German guidelines. Both the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) have already included the new therapies available in their recommendations. In Germany, the National Care Guideline for Type 2 Diabetes from 2013 has now expired and is currently being revised. "It would be desirable for the update of the National Supply Guideline to include the international recommendations," said Ley. The German Diabetes Society (DDG) and the German Society for Internal Medicine (DGIM) have already integrated the new evidence into their practice recommendations. Ley now hopes that the new drugs will reach those affected as soon as possible, because there are now drugs that can do more than just lower blood sugar. (vb)

More interesting articles on this topic can be found here:

  • The number of diabetes cases in Germany will increase to up to twelve million in the next few years
  • Adult Diabetes - Five Instead of Two Different Forms
  • Diabetes is widespread in Germany - but many do not know about its illness

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Pharma facts e.V .: paradigm shift in diabetes therapy: more than just a “diabetes disease” (access: 11.07.2019),

Video: Understanding diabetes and hypertension symptoms, risk factors and treatment (June 2022).