American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association launch landmark health initiative—Know Diabetes by Heart™

Contact

Michelle Kirkwood
press@diabetes.org
703-299-2053

Arlington, Virginia
November 8, 2018

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and a major cause of heart attacks, strokes and disability for people living with type 2 diabetes – only half recognize their risk

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) today launched their new, multi-year awareness and education initiative, Know Diabetes by Heart™, to reduce cardiovascular deaths, heart attacks and strokes in people living with type 2 diabetes.

People living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease. Yet in a recent survey of people age 45 and older with type 2 diabetes conducted online by The Harris Poll, only about half recognize their risk or have discussed their risk for heart attacks or strokes with their health care providers.

“The public health impact and growing threat of diabetes and cardiovascular disease are too significant for any one organization to tackle alone,” said Nancy A. Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. “Our collaboration with the American Diabetes Association and industry supporters is crucial for developing meaningful solutions and offering practical tools and information that can help those living with type 2 diabetes find inspiration and take action toward improving their health and decreasing their risk of heart disease.”

With support from founding sponsors the Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company Diabetes Alliance, and Novo Nordisk, and national sponsor Sanofi, the Know Diabetes by Heart initiative provides tools and resources for people living with type 2 diabetes to learn how to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Participants in focus groups conducted by the ADA and the AHA in September revealed that many people living with type 2 diabetes experience distress related to the day-to-day management of this chronic disease. They also reported feelings of hopelessness, which can make them less likely to take action to reduce the long-term complications of diabetes. More in-depth research is underway to better understand the populations at highest risk.

“As someone living with type 2 diabetes, I empathize with the denial, worry, fear and even frustration that can accompany a diabetes diagnosis and the daily management of the disease,” said Tracey D. Brown, chief executive officer of the American Diabetes Association. “It’s critical that we wake people up to the realities and deadly complications of diabetes, especially heart disease. Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease is vital to improving the quality and length of life for every individual living with type 2 diabetes. We are proud to collaborate with the American Heart Association and our industry partners to bring this initiative to life through every avenue possible. This is an incredible moment for our organizations.”

For people over age 60 living with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease shortens life expectancy by an average of 12 years. Focus group participants said they are motivated to make behavioral changes by their desire to fulfill family responsibilities, and through strong support and connections to family, friends and a community of people who understand what they are going through. Know Diabetes by Heart is designed to educate, empower and motivate people with type 2 diabetes to make practical, step-by-step changes to improve their health and decrease their risks of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. The initiative also leverages the latest evidence-based guidelines to support health care providers regarding the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and includes quality improvement efforts across clinics, practices and hospitals caring for people with type 2 diabetes.

Individuals living with type 2 diabetes can take advantage of the following free Know Diabetes by Heart resources and upcoming events:

  • Ask The Expert Q&A Series – Join us on November 14 at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT for the introductory episode in our Ask the Expert Q&A series. Learn more about the link between diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, and ask a question of our experts. 

  • Living with Type 2 Diabetes Program – This 12-month program offers six digital, printable “journeys” to improve understanding of how to live well with type 2 diabetes, including reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The program also includes a monthly e-newsletter featuring practical tips, stories and resources, as well as six free issues of Diabetes Forecast®, the ADA’s consumer magazine, and access to the ADA’s online community of local events.

For more information, people with type 2 diabetes can visit KnowDiabetesbyHeart.org to take a quiz to understand their level of risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes and download a discussion guide with the top three questions and conversation-starters for their next appointment with their doctor. Additional Know Diabetes by Heart campaign tools, events and resources will be unveiled in 2019.

Research Methods

Research was conducted online between September 18 – 27, 2018 by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, among 1,050 U.S. adults 45+ who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by an health care provider. Figures for age by gender, income, education, race/ethnicity, region, size of household, marital status, and employment status were weighted where necessary to align with actual proportions in the population.

The focus group research was conducted online between August 27 – August 31, 2018, by Edelman Intelligence on behalf of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, among U.S. adults 45+ who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by an health care provider. Respondents were divided among four focus groups, including two groups representative of the general population and two minority-specific groups.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook (@AmericanHeart) and Twitter (@American_Heart).

About the American Diabetes Association

Approximately every 21 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. Nearly half of the American adult population has diabetes or prediabetes, and more than 30 million adults and children are living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization on a mission to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as improve the lives of all people affected by the disease. For nearly 80 years, the ADA has driven discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. Magnifying the urgency of this epidemic, the ADA works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with the illness, those at risk of developing diabetes and the health care professionals who serve them by initiating programs, advocacy and education efforts that can lead to improved health outcomes and quality of life. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit us at diabetes.org. Information is available in English and Spanish. Join the conversation with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).

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For Media Inquiries:

AHA – Maggie Francis: 214-706-1382; Maggie.Francis@heart.org

ADA – Michelle Kirkwood: 703-299-2053; mkirkwood@diabetes.org 

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) heart.org and strokeassociation.org

                                 1-800-DIABETES (342-2383) diabetes.org