Diabetes’ often-forgotten consequences: Pharmacy School head

woman with diabetes injects insulin into abdomen

University of Queensland diabetes expert Professor Peter Little has used National Diabetes Week to remind people of the often-overshadowed consequences and contributors to the condition.

Prof Little, the School of Pharmacy head, says people commonly fail to make the association between diabetes and the cardiovascular diseases it causes.

“Diabetes is a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease, which is one of Australia’s biggest killers,” Prof Little says.

“Diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are all closely related. “In fact, you could make a good argument that diabetes is a cardiovascular disease.”

In 2006, on behalf of Diabetes Australia, Prof Little finalised the $750 million National Diabetes Services Scheme Agreement, which continues to support people in Australia with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

“There are increasingly diverse findings about how diabetes manifests itself,” Prof Little says.

“A study from Scandinavia reported a 200% increased risk of future diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes for children who endured a stressful event such as the death of a sibling, parent or grandparent.

“Although this displays considerably less risk than hereditary factors, the research monitored more than 10,000 children, so it is a substantial finding.

“The study around Major Depressive Disorder came from the medical records of more than 300,000 people in the US and showed that, together, depression and Type 2 diabetes increased the risk of a heart attack by 80%.”


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