Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death globally with more people dying annually from CVD than any other disease state. In 2018, according to the American Heart Association, CVD accounted for nearly 836,546 deaths in the USA (1) with over 17 million known deaths recorded worldwide. It is also proclaimed that around 1.5 million people globally die each year because of diabetes and diabetes related complications. (2) Is there a common link? Can this issue be controlled?
Studies have suggested that diabetes is one of the leading related conditions associated with increased risk of CVD death. A recent study undertaken in 2018 examined the association of many risk factors associated with CVD, the study was broken down by disease state with over 17,000 participants involved. The findings highlighted that 17.9% of these patients suffered from diabetes mellitus and death from a cardiovascular event. (3) Many other pilot and research studies discovered similar findings considering further risk factors such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides, obesity, lack of exercise and lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. All of which are common with patients who suffer from diabetes, placing them at an increased risk of CVD.
Findings highlighted that over 68% of people aged over 65 living with diabetes die from some form of heart disease with 16% of individuals dying from an ischemic stroke. (4) The ability to tackle the prevalence of increased death from CVD and diagnosis of diabetes has become a global burden with the international diabetes federation projecting that 592 million people worldwide will have diabetes by 2035. (5)
Worldwide, the increase of diabetes is becoming an economic burden on the patient and healthcare systems mainly due to the direct costs of medical care and the indirect costs of moderated productivity, tied to diabetes and CVD related morbidity and mortality. Many scholars have highlighted economic burden as a primary attribute to both macrovascular and microvascular complications such as coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, retinopathy, end-stage renal disease and neuropathy. (6)
Overcoming the Burden
As CVD is the most prevalent cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with diabetes, effective treatment and analysis is required to control and decrease the number of CVD deaths across the globe. Tackling this issue head on, the Randox RX series introduce Direct HbA1c which refers to glycated haemoglobin which is a product of haemoglobin (a protein which can be found in red blood cells) and glucose from the blood making it glycated.
Testing for HbA1c provides an indication of what an individual’s average blood sugar level has been over recent weeks/months and is generally considered as an indicator of how well the patient is managing and controlling their diabetes. This is significant for those who suffer from diabetes because the higher the levels of HbA1c, the higher the chance of an individual suffering from further diabetes related issues, therefore testing for HbA1c improves the predictions of a CVD event occurring.
The Randox RX series have Direct HbA1c testing capabilities on the RX Daytona +, RX imola and RX modena. Our latex enhanced immunoturbidimetric method which the RX series utilises makes the test simple and quick to perform. The removal of the pre-dilution step removes the risk of human error compromising your results without the need for a separate HbA1c analyser.
Offering the world’s largest test menu, the RX series has an extensive range of cardiac, diabetes and lipid tests with excellent correlation to gold standard methodologies designed to allow laboratories to expand their testing capabilities onto one single platform, providing cost savings through consolidation.
- American Heart Association. (2018). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2018 At-a-Glance.Available: https://www.heart.org/-/media/data-import/downloadables/heart-disease-and-stroke-statistics-2018—at-a-glance-ucm_498848.pdf. Last accessed 7th Feb 2019.
- World Heart Federation. (2017). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) – Global facts and figures.Available: https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/cardiovascular-diseases-cvds-global-facts-figures/. Last accessed 7th Feb 2019.
- Gomadam, P et al, (2018). Blood pressure indices and cardiovascular disease mortality in persons with or without diabetes mellitus. Journal of Hypertension. 36 (1), 1-5.
- Heart attack and stroke symptoms. (2018). Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes.Available: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/why-diabetes-matters/cardiovascular-disease–diabetes. Last accessed 7th Feb 2019.
- Aguiree F, Brown A, Cho NH, Dahlquist G, Dodd S, Dunning T, Hirst M, Hwang C, Magliano D, Patterson C. (2013) IDF Diabetes Atlas.
- Bahia LR, Araujo DV, Schaan BD, Dib SA, Negrato CA, Leão MP, Ramos AJ, Forti AC, Gomes MB, Foss MC, Monteiro RA, Sartorelli D, Franco LJ, Value Health. (2011), 137-40.
There are many different science roles at Randox which require many different skillsets – and there are as many different pathways to get to them! One such pathway is the Higher Level Apprenticeship offered by Randox in collaboration with Northern and Southern Regional Colleges.
Sarah Casey is both a Randox Higher Level Apprentice and a student at Portadown Southern Regional College. We caught up with her fresh from her win at the Southern Regional College Science Competition in January 2019.
Sarah, congratulations on winning the science award at Southern Regional College!
Please tell us more about the Science Competition you took part in – and won – at Southern Regional College.
The competition was held at the SRC Newry Campus and consisted of two experiments. I competed against other students from Randox, Almac and Norbrook.
For the first experiment, I had to find the concentration of an unknown sample of copper sulphate. I carried out a serial dilution using a known concentration of copper sulphate and then found the absorbance of each of the standards. I then found the absorbance for the unknown sample as well. From this I was able to plot a graph and determine the concentration of the unknown sample.
For the second experiment, I had to carry out a titration of iodine against sodium thiosulphate. I added the sodium thiosulphate to the iodine solution until the solution appeared pale yellow. I added a few drops of the starch indicator and continued titrating until the solution appeared colourless. I recorded the titre and then repeated the titration two more times to find an average titre. I then had to complete several questions relating to this experiment.
What did you study before you applied for the Higher Level Apprenticeship?
I previously studied A-Levels at St. Joseph’s Grammar school, undertaking Biology, Chemistry and Digital Technology. I always had a keen interest in science when I was younger so after studying Biology and Chemistry for A-Level I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in this field. In school I enjoyed the practical aspect of subjects which lead me to want to take part in this Higher Level Apprenticeship.
Where are you currently studying and what do you like most about your course?
I am studying the Life Science pathway of Applied Industrial Science at Portadown Southern Regional College. This course is based on biology and I have just finished semester one. I enjoy learning about buffer solutions, oxidation and redox reaction. For semester two, I look forward to studying physiology and continue to gain more knowledge about biology.
How did you hear about Higher Level Apprenticeships at Randox?
I heard about the higher level apprenticeship from my Careers teacher at school. He highly recommended that we tried out for the apprenticeship. After I applied after carrying out some research online. I was then offered a place here at Randox and started in September 2018.
Could you give a brief description of a typical day at Randox for you?
At the moment, I am based in the QC Serum department carrying out value assignments for Randox products. On a typical day I will come into work and carry out the daily maintenance on the RX Daytona and Imola. I will then have a look through the assignment folder to check what lots need to be assigned a value. I will gather the calibrator, controls and test lots in order to reconstitute them. While they are rolling, I will collect the necessary reagents. The test is then carried out. Afterwards I will type up the results into a spreadsheet to check if the lots have passed. I can carry out nest tests, two-day assignments and calibrator validations for chemistrys, lipids and cardiac. In between runs, I check sheets that are sent to customers.
What qualifications will you have when your Higher Level Apprenticeship at Randox ends?
I will finish my apprenticeship in September 2020. Since joining Randox only a few months ago I have already gained so many invaluable skills. By the end of this apprenticeship I hope to be competent with most or all the analysers used at Randox while continuing to exhibit good laboratory practice. At the end of the apprenticeship I will gained a foundation degree in Applied Industrial Sciences. I can then progress onto year two of Biomedical Science at Ulster University.
Would you recommend a Higher Level Apprenticeship at Randox to someone else and why?
I would highly recommend the higher level apprenticeship. It is a great experience and provides all the necessary skills required to pursue a career in this industry. Also, it allows you to earn while you learn so it’s a win-win situation as a student!
For more information about Sarah’s story or to hear more about the Higher Level Apprenticeship at Randox, please contact RandoxPR@randox.com.