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Cholesterol risk warning for people with diabetes

10th September 2012

The charity Diabetes UK have warned the results of a national audit have shown most people with diabetes are not controlling their cholesterol levels well enough.

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While the charity said nine in 10 people with diabetes go for a yearly check-up which will identify issues, it added that people with high cholesterol levels were not doing enough to control it.

There are around 3.7 million diabetics in the UK and the audit took data from 1.9 million people with the condition.

Only around 10% have type 1 diabetes - where the body cannot produce insulin - while the remaining 90% have type 2 diabetes, where the body does not produce enough insulin or does not make it properly.

Diabetics have a greater danger of heart disease than people without the condition. It is associated with the deaths of 52% of people with type 2 diabetes and 44% of people with type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetics also have twice the danger of having a stroke within the first five years of being diagnosed compared to people without the condition.

The charity's chief executive Barbara Young said: "It is not clear why the high number of people having their annual cholesterol check is not translating into better cholesterol control."

"It will often be appropriate to prescribe medication such as statins, but it is no good doing this without explaining the importance of taking the medication regularly and the potentially devastating consequences of not doing so."

"Other ways people can help improve their cholesterol levels include losing weight, exercising daily, reducing alcohol consumption, stopping smoking and eating a healthy diet, low in fat." 

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