Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Kidney disease, nerve damage, foot problems, amputation, blindness, stroke, heart diseaseā€¦as most people with diabetes know, proper treatment for the disease is critical to prevent these serious complications.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), up to 75 percent of all people with diabetes die from conditions related to cardiovascular disease. In September 2009, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined that medications commonly used to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, such as metformin and insulin, alone do not reduce inflammation associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Although these medicines can effectively lower blood glucose levels in diabetes patients, they do not significantly reduce levels of inflammatory markers (e.g., C-reactive protein), which increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.

This study emphasizes the importance of lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet, losing excess weight, and getting regular exercise, in addition to medication in people who have diabetes. When a combination of diet and exercise does not reduce inflammation sufficiently to lower the risk for heart disease, patients may benefit from additional medications, such as statins and aspirin therapy.

Diabetes more than doubles the risk for complications related to cardiovascular disease. However, by working closely with their health care team, people with the disease can develop an effective treatment plan to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 22 Sep 2009

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015