Drugs which lower cholesterol could help people suffering from diabetes, new research suggests.
A study involving almost 90,000 people found many patients benefited from taking statins, irrespective of the type of diabetes they had.
Over an average period of 4.3 years, deaths among diabetes sufferers fell by 9% for every step reduction in "bad" cholesterol levels.
The Oxford-based Cholesterol Treatment Trialists Collaboration found the number of heart attacks and strokes also fell by a fifth for every millimole per litre reduction in blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL).
Chief executive of Diabetes UK, Douglas Smallwood, said: "The lives of almost 2.5 million people in the UK are threatened by cardiovascular disease as 80% of people with diabetes die from heart disease or strokes.
"It is crucial people with diabetes are given access to the right treatment. This study confirms that statins are an effective treatment for people with diabetes over 40 and this group should be offered statins even if they don't have a history of CVD (cardiovascular disease) or other risk factors.
"People under the age of 40 with at least one diabetic complication such as nephropathy, retinopathy or raised blood pressure should also be considered for statin therapy."