Abu Dhabi: Diabetic patients across the UAE are four times more likely to experience sudden and silent death than non-diabetic patients due to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), with a possible mortality rate of up to 20 per cent, say experts.

It is estimated that 19.5 per cent of the UAE's population is living with diabetes, which is estimated to increase to 21.9 by 2025 due to a sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits.

At a conference regarding CVD related to diabetics, Dr. Jens Peder Bagger, Consultant Cardiologist at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), emphasized that cardiovascular diabetes is a “silent killer'' since it can result in instant death, without prior related symptoms.

“Statistics show that the risks of silent death related to CVD among diabetic patients is consistently greater among women than men. Suspected cases arise due to discrete changes in the electro cardiogram, and normally those patients undergo tests immediately,'' said Bagger.

Statistics provided to Gulf News show that over the past year, 11.7 per cent of diabetic females and 11.1 per cent diabetic males have been suspected to have VSD and have been examined at ICLDC using echo-cardiography and stress tests.

“We have examined more females than males since females were often neglected in the past. They were assumed to have less coronary heart diseases and a better diabetic prognosis than men,'' said Dr. Maha Barakat, Consultant Endocrinologist, Medical and Research Director, ICLDC, during a press conference.

Gulf News learnt that the average age of diabetic females suffering from VSD is 57. The average was taken among females from the ages of seven to 93. The average age among males is 56, with a range taken among 14 to 87 year olds. Women normally carry a greater risk of CVD after menopause.

“Non diabetic females have been proven to catch CVD at an older age than men. But diabetic females have almost leveled out that statistic. We only found a one year delay versus a ten year delay due to diabetes. This is because diabetes will normally eliminate the protection women will naturally have,'' concluded Bagger.

Diabetes and increased risk of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD)

-People with diabetes are at risk of early aging of their large blood vessels. This can lead to heart attacks or heart failure (CVD), strokes (cerebrovascular disease) or feet problems (peripheral vascular disease).

-Like diabetes, the symptoms of CVD may go undetected for years

-Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke

-The mortality risk is two to six times higher than in people without diabetes and excess mortality is particularly notable among women with diabetes

-The number of people with diabetes around the world is predicted to double over the coming decades making the outlook for CVD more alarming.