Amputations are an important and largely preventable complication of type 2 diabetes mellitus that impact considerably on the life expectancy and quality of life of those affected. In England, more than 9000 diabetes-related amputations are performed each year, with decreasing rates but higher absolute numbers of major amputations, and the annual direct healthcare costs of diabetic foot ulceration and amputation are approximately £1 billion.
In an article published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, we investigated the associations between attainment of primary care quality clinical indicators, completion of National Diabetes Audit care processes, and non-traumatic lower limb amputations among people with type 2 diabetes. We observed that minor or major, as well as major-only, amputation rates were 26%–51% and 3%–51%, respectively, lower among those who met the HbA1c indicator and 14%–47% lower among those who met the cholesterol indicator for our primary outcome.
Comprehensive primary care-based secondary prevention may offer considerable protection against diabetes-related amputation. This has important implications for diabetes management and medical decision-making for patients, as well as type 2 diabetes quality improvement programs.
Nearly three million people in England have type 2 diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication, affecting nearly a third of patients with type 2 diabetes with considerable impacts on visual acuity and quality of life. In a paper published in the journal BMC Medicine, we examined the associations between attainment of primary care indicators and incident diabetic retinopathy among people with type 2 diabetes in England.
We found that that attainment of primary care HbA1c and BP indicators is associated with lower incidence of diabetic retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes. There is scope to enhance coverage of HbA1c and BP indicator attainment, and thus to potentially limit the incidence of diabetic retinopathy in England, through appropriate community-based measures. Further research is required to examine whether tighter glycaemic and/or BP control could achieve greater reductions in diabetic retinopathy.
England has invested considerably in diabetes care over recent years through programmes such as the Quality and Outcomes Framework and National Diabetes Audit. However, associations between specific programme indicators and key clinical endpoints, such as emergency hospital admissions, remain unclear. In a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, we aimed to examine whether attainment of Quality and Outcomes Framework and National Diabetes Audit primary care diabetes indicators is associated with diabetes-related, cardiovascular, and all-cause emergency hospital admissions.
Diabetes, cardiovascular and all-cause unplanned hospital admission rates were 7%–12% lower among those who met the Quality and Outcomes Framework HbA1c indicator, and 8%–14% lower among those who met the cholesterol indicator. By contrast, univariate analyses demonstrated that blood pressure indicator attainment was associated with higher rates of all types of unplanned admission. However, this association only persisted for diabetes-related admissions in multivariate analyses, and blood pressure attainment was associated with a significantly lower rate of cardiovascular-related unplanned admissions after adjustment for confounders.
Longer latency to diabetes, cardiovascular and all-cause unplanned admissions was also observed among those who met the HbA1c or cholesterol indicators, and again an association was not observed for the blood pressure indicator. Completing 7–9 National Diabetes Audit processes was associated with lower rates of all types of unplanned admissions, and meeting all nine National Diabetes Audit care processes was linked to 22%–26% lower rates for all types of unplanned admissions.
Our new study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism shows a lower incidence of sight‐threatening diabetic retinopathy in people with type 2 diabetes who meet QOF targets for HBA1c, blood pressure and lipid control.
We aimed to examine the impact of attainment of primary care diabetes clinical indicators on progression to sight‐threatening diabetic retinopathy (STDR) among those with mild non‐proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR).
We carried out a historical cohort study of 18,978 adults (43.63% female) diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before 1 April 2010 and mild NPDR before 1 April 2011 was conducted. The data were obtained from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink during 2010‐2017, provided by 330 primary care practices in England. Exposures included attainment of the Quality and Outcomes Framework HbA1c (≤59 mmol/mol [≤7.5%]), blood pressure (≤140/80 mmHg) and cholesterol (≤5 mmol/L) indicators in the financial year 2010‐2011, as well as the number of National Diabetes Audit processes completed in 2010‐2011. The outcome was time to incident STDR. Nearest neighbour propensity score matching was undertaken, and univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were then fitted using the matched samples. Concordance statistics were calculated for each model.
A total of 1037 (5.5%) STDR diagnoses were observed over a mean follow‐up of 3.6 (SD 2.0) years. HbA1c, blood pressure and cholesterol indicator attainment were associated with lower rates of STDR (adjusted hazard ratios [95% CI] 0.64 [0.55‐0.74; p < .001], 0.83 [0.72‐0.94; p = .005] and 0.80 [0.66‐0.96; p = .015], respectively).
Our findings provide support for meeting appropriate indicators for the management of type 2 diabetes in primary care to bring a range of benefits, including improved health outcomes—such as a reduction in the risk of STDR—for people with type 2 diabetes.
Newly published statistics show that nearly 7,000 children and adults aged under 25 in the UK have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The onset of Type 2 Diabetes is strongly associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of exercise and high calorie (high sugar) diets. In recent decades, countries such as USA and UK have seen large increases in the number of people with type 2 diabetes. Most of these cases have been among older people but we are now also seeing an increasing number of cases of Type 2 Diabetes among younger people.
Reversing the increase in Type 2 Diabetes is not easy. It requires action by individuals, and also by governments and societies. For individuals, it is important that people eat a healthy, balanced diet that is not too high in calories, and not high in refined carbohydrates and sugars. Dietary changes need to be combined with regular exercise to keep weight down to healthy levels, thereby reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A number of people with established type 2 diabetes have reversed their condition through measures such as dieting and exercise. This shows even if an individual has Type 2 Diabetes, they can resolve this through appropriate lifestyle measures.
Measures taken by individuals need to be backed by measures targeting the entire population. This can include for example, ‘sugar taxes’ on high-calorie drinks to encourage individuals to consume them less and to encourage manufacturers to produce lower calorie version of these drinks. Calorie labelling of food can also help people make suitable choices about their diets. We also need measures to encourage physical activity, for example, making it easier and safer for people to cycle and walk rather than using cars.
It’s important that regular exercise and healthy diets are introduced at a young age. Hence, nurseries, schools, colleges and universities also have an important role to play in addressing the causes of Type 2 Diabetes.
Drugs used to treat diabetes are now responsible for 11.4% of total primary care prescribing costs in England, £1,012 million annually. The very high costs to the NHS of treating diabetes are an inevitable consequence of the increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in recent decades. This increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is in turn a consequence of lifestyle factors such as high-calorie diets (particularly diets high in sugars and refined carbohydrates), physical inactivity and obesity. We need effective strategies at both population and individual level, and changes in the obesogenic environment we live in, to reverse these adverse lifestyle- associated factors and bring down the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
Source: NHS Digital
The results of recent research studies illustrate the importance of prioritizing obese people with type 2 diabetes mellitus when it comes to selecting patients for bariatric surgery. For example, the number of people eligible for bariatric surgery in England far exceeds the bariatric surgery capacity of its National Health Service. If the aim of bariatric surgery is to reduce mortality and morbidity among obese patients, then the focus should be on selecting patients for surgery based on the presence of the conditions that have the greatest detrimental effect on health status. It may therefore be appropriate to reconsider the importance of body mass index alone as a predictor of mortality and put more emphasis on the presence of comorbidities when assessing eligibility for bariatric surgery. Given the significant benefits for people with type 2 diabetes that bariatric surgery offers and the resulting major improvements in their health status, there is a strong case that type 2 diabetes should be considered as the preferred comorbidity when selecting patients for surgery.
The full letter can be read in JAMA Surgery.
In a study published in the journal BMJ Open, we reviewed the clinical outcomes of combined diet and physical activity interventions for people at high risk of type 2 diabetes. We looked at combined diet and physical activity interventions including ≥2 interactions with a healthcare professional, and ≥12 months follow-up. Our primary outcome measures included glycaemia, diabetes incidence. Secondary outcomes included behaviour change, measures of adiposity, vascular disease and mortality.
We identified 19 recent reviews for inclusion in our study. Most reviews reported that interventions were associated with net reductions in diabetes incidence, measures of glycaemia and adiposity. Small effect sizes and potentially transient effect were reported in some studies, and some reviewers noted that durability of intervention impact was potentially sensitive to duration of intervention and adherence to behaviour change. Behaviour change, vascular disease and mortality outcome data were infrequently reported, and evidence of the impact of intervention on these outcomes was minimal. Evidence for age effect was mixed, and sex and ethnicity effect were little considered.
We concluded that relatively long-duration lifestyle interventions can limit or delay progression to diabetes under trial conditions. However, outcomes from more time-limited interventions, and those applied in routine clinical settings, are more variable, in keeping with the findings of recent pragmatic trials. There is little evidence of intervention impact on vascular outcomes or mortality end points in any context. Hence, ‘real-world’ implementation of lifestyle interventions for diabetes prevention may be expected to lead to modest outcomes.
An article published in the journal Cardiovascular Diabetology examines gender differences in hospital admissions for major cardiovascular events and procedures in people with and without diabetes.
Secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has improved immensely during the past few decades but controversies persist about the cardiovascular benefits among women with diabetes. We investigated 11-year trends in hospital admission rates for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), stroke, percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) in people with and without diabetes by gender in England.
We found that diabetes-related admission rates remained unchanged for AMI, increased for stroke by 2% and for PCI by 3%; and declined for CABG by 3% annually. Trends did not differ significantly by diabetes status. Women with diabetes had significantly lower rates of AMI and stroke compared with men with diabetes. However, gender differences in admission rates for AMI attenuated in diabetes compared with the non-diabetic group.
While diabetes tripled admission rates for AMI in men, it increased it by over four-fold among women. Furthermore, while the presence of diabetes was associated with a three-fold increase in rates for PCI and a five-fold increase in rates for CABG in men; among women, diabetes was associated with a 4.4-fold increased admission rates for PCI and 6.2-fold increased rates for CABG. Proportional changes in rates were similar in men and women for all study outcomes, leaving the relative risk of admissions largely unchanged.
We concluded that diabetes still confers a greater increase in risk of hospital admission for AMI in women relative to men. However, the absolute risk remains higher in men. These results call for intensified CVD risk factor management among people with diabetes, consideration of gender-specific treatment targets, and treatment intensity to be aligned with levels of CVD risk.