Diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Last update: 16/04/2021
  • Diabetes and elevated blood glucose are associated with an approximate doubling of cardiovascular disease risk.
  • The risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes can be reduced by lowering high blood pressure and high glucose levels, and using lipid-lowering medications.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are associated with a wide range of cardiovascular conditions that collectively comprise the largest cause of disease and mortality for people with diabetes.

People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes. High levels of blood glucose can make the blood coagulation system more active, increasing the risk of blood clots. Diabetes is also associated with high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which lead to increased risk of cardiovascular complications such as angina, coronary artery diseases (CADs), myocardial infaction, stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and congestive heart failure.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include:

CVD image

Several risk factors can increase the chances of developing CVD. These include associated conditions, metabolic risk factors, behavioural risk factors, modifiable factors and non-modifiable risk factors.

Associated conditions and metabolic risk factors 

CVD associated risk factors

Behavioural risk factors (can be changed)

CVD behavioural risk factors

Other modifiable risk factors

CVD modifiable risk factors

Non-modifiable risk factors (cannot be changed)

CVD non modifiable risk factors


IDF Diabetes and CVD activities and resources

TD2H cover 400px   CDV in diabetes report cover 450px
Multi-country study on CVD awareness    Diabetes and CVD Report
Advo toolkit 400px   CVD course 400px
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  Free online course for health professionals


Global coalition for circulatory health

CVD white paper 400pxThe International Diabetes Federation is a member of the Global Coalition for Circulatory Health, a network of international, regional and national organizations advocating for increased prevention, control and treatment of all circulatory diseases.

The Global Coalition aims to:

  • Advocate for and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.4 of a one-third reduction in premature NCD deaths by 2030. The Coalition will build on the work done to date to meet the global target of a 25 percent reduction by 2025 in premature mortality from heart disease and stroke, and on the World Health Organization’s Global Hearts Initiative;
  • Promote common messaging by partner organizations and leverage their extensive networks to cascade messages at regional and national levels in order to influence relevant local policy- and decision-makers;
  • Strengthen the voice of people living with heart disease, stroke and associated conditions by including patients, their families and communities in decision-making processes and in national, regional and global advocacy.

In 2018, the Global Coalition published a White Paper that draws on stories and lessons from around the world to showcase proven, practical steps to advance circulatory health.

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