Researchers using GP data have improved our understanding of the link between diabetes and heart disease. This information can be used to guide healthcare planning decisions as well as supporting doctors and patients to have a better understanding of individual risk.

Why was this work needed?

Middle-aged people with diabetes are known to have a higher risk of death from heart disease than those without diabetes. However, as rates of heart disease are falling and management of risk factors is improving, it is possible that this connection with diabetes has diminished. This research aimed at updating our knowledge on the link between diabetes and heart disease.

What happened?

This study used GP data and compared 21,798 people with type 2 diabetes to 65,300 people without diabetes, between the ages 40 and 65. It compared the likelihood of people from these two groups dying in general, and the specific likelihood of them dying from heart disease.

This research demonstrated that, despite progress in controlling and treating heart disease, people with diabetes are still at a significantly raised risk of death from all causes, as well as being at a raised risk of death from heart disease.

What were the benefits?

Research such as this allows us to understand the risk factors underpinning diseases better. This can help guide doctors when they are advising their patients and also to support people to understand their health better and guide the choices they make about their lifestyles. It also highlights the continuing need to improve treatment and support for people with diabetes across the healthcare system.

What type of data was involved?

This study used data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD).

CPRD data is de-personalised before being shared with researchers.

Who funded and collaborated on this work?

This project was funded by NHS Diabetes. Access to the CPRD database was funded by the Medical Research Council’s license agreement with Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Where can I go for more information?

All-cause and cardiovascular mortality in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes compared with people without diabetes in a large U.K. primary care database