Aims: To examine the scope for cardiovascular disease risk factor intervention among diabetic patients in England was examined using data from the Health Surveys for England 1991-94. This evaluation included calculating the proportion who require lipid lowering therapy according to the Standing Medical Advisory Committee (SMAC) guidelines.
Methods: The Health Survey for England is an annual, nationwide household-based in which anthropomorphic data, blood pressure, lipids and details of cardiovascular risk factors are collected from households after random stratification for geographical and socio-economic factors within a population sample of 39639 adults, 970 (2.3%) diabetic subjects were identified.
Results: Overall, 51% of those with diabetes had hypertension (systolic blood pressure > or = 160 mmHg or a diastolic BP > or = 95 mmHg or being on antihypertensive therapy), 27% were obese (body mass index > or = 30 kg/m2) and 19% were current smokers. One-third of those with hypertension were untreated and less than one-half of those on treatment had their hypertension controlled to below 160/ 95 mmHg. More than one-quarter had poor glycaemic control (glycated Hb>11% or an HbA1c>7.5%). Of those aged <70 years, 29% required lipid lowering therapy according to the SMAC guidelines and almost all (94%) of these were not on treatment. An analysis showed that, because the SMAC guidelines do not require high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol to be measured, their use is likely to result in substantial underestimation of the need for lipid lowering, particularly in diabetic women.
Conclusion: In England, among those with diabetes there is considerable unmet need for cardiovascular risk factor intervention, particularly for hypertension and raised cholesterol. With this baseline established, future improvements can be monitored.