Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major global health concern and the primary cause of death in high-income countries. CVD affects the heart and blood vessels, causing serious complications such as heart attack and stroke. It is expected to become the leading cause of mortality in many low- and middle-income countries, reaching levels similar to high-income countries. CVD is the most common cause of death in people with diabetes, who have a threefold risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
The two life-threatening CVD-related complications for people with diabetes are heart attack and stroke. A third complication, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), affects the blood flow to the arms and feet. PAD is more common in people with diabetes, and about half of people with diabetes-related foot complications will also have PAD.