Diabetes and cardiovascular issues

Diabetic individuals are said to be twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those without the condition – this is due to the fact that their condition can cause them to develop a problem known as atherosclerosis, a hardening of the blood vessels.

As this condition worsens the individual in turn is put at a greater risk of both stroke and heart problems.

At present Diabetes UK estimates that, on average, 680 diabetic individuals suffer a stroke every week, and note that diabetes causes one in five strokes. It is also noted that 530 diabetic individuals suffer a heart attack and there are almost 2,000 cases of heart failure every week.

Diabetes UK advises that compared to people without diabetes, people with diabetes are:

  • Nearly 2.5 times more likely to have a heart attack
  • More than 2.5 times more likely to experience heart failure
  • 2 times more likely to have a stroke

It is therefore of the utmost importance that if a diabetic individual complains of any symptoms indicative of these conditions that they are admitted to hospital and appropriate tests and treatment are arranged without delay.

What are the symptoms to look out for?

Heart attack

Whilst symptoms vary from one person to another, the most common signs of a heart attack are (courtesy of the British Heart Foundation):

  • Pain or discomfort in your chest that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away;
  • The pain may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach. For some people the pain or tightness is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable.
  • You may also feel sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.

It is possible to have a heart attack without experiencing ‘classic’ chest pain. This is more common in those with diabetes as the condition can cause nerve damage which can affect how you feel pain.

If a patient experiences any of the above symptoms it would not be acceptable for their treating health professional to send them home without appropriate tests and treatment.


A nationally recognised assessment in the community to identify a suspected stroke is known as F.A.S.T. (information courtesy of the Stroke Association):

  • Face – Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
  • Arms – Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech problems – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
  • Time – If you see any of these three signs, it’s time to call 999.

As with the above, if a patient experiences any of the above symptoms it would not be acceptable for their treating health professional to send them home without appropriate tests and treatment.

Delayed diagnosis

A diagnosis of any complication resulting from diabetes can be difficult to deal with for the patient and his or her family.  The news can be even more devastating if the diagnosis could potentially have been made earlier and further, that an earlier diagnosis could have made a significant difference to the patient’s condition.

Delays in diagnosis may arise where particular symptoms are ignored or dismissed, the necessary tests are not conducted in good time or are not interpreted and acted on appropriately.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms it is of the utmost importance that you contact your doctor as a matter or urgency so they can arrange for review by specialists, as with problems of this nature time is of the essence when it comes to avoiding more serious harm from occurring.

How to start a claim

Our team at Royds Withy King has been developed with patients in mind and each member has a specialist knowledge of the condition of the diabetic individual and the problems they can experience with strokes and heart attack when due care hasn’t been taken.  If you feel this has happened to you, our team can advise you on what to do next.

Of course, we recognise that money can never truly compensate you or your family for what you have gone through, but it can make a big difference. A compensation claim will take into account any loss of earnings or other financial expenses that you have incurred because of the negligence, and of particular relevance to a diabetic patient the costs of any future care required.

Call or email us and one of our specialists will be more than happy to discuss your situation and assess whether we are able to be of assistance to you.


Contact us to speak to a member of our specialist medical negligence team today.