With proper treatment and not smoking, individuals with type 2 diabetes can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study in Sweden.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes have 10 times the risk for heart attack, heart failure and stroke, and five times the risk for premature death compared with the control group.
In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at University of Gothenburg in Sweden said that the increased risks could be theoretically eliminated.
“The study shows that patients with type 2 diabetes with all risk factors within therapeutic target range had an extremely low risk of premature death, heart attack and stroke. This is definitely good news,” author Aidin Rawshani, a doctoral student at the Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, said in a press release.
For the study, researchers analyzed data on 271,174 patients with type 2 diabetes registered in the Swedish National Diabetes Register from 1998-2014 and matched with 1.35 million controls on the basis of age, sex and county. In a median followup of 5.7 years, there were 175,345 deaths.
Risk factors that can be controlled by medication, and cigarette abstinence, are blood pressure, long-term blood glucose, lipid status, renal function and smoking, according to the researchers.
Smoking was the most important risk factor for premature death and an elevated blood glucose level was the most dangerous factor for heart attack and stroke.
“By optimizing these five risk factors, all of which can be influenced, you can come a long way,” Rawshani said adding, “We have shown that the risks can be greatly reduced, and in some cases may even be eliminated.”
In some cases, patients with type 2 diabetes have no more than a 10 percent elevated risk of premature death, heart attack and stroke compared with the general population. The risk for heart failure is 45 percent higher among those with type 2 diabetes in those instances.
In addition, the risk of complications, especially heart failure, is greatest among those under 55 years.
“This makes it extra important to check and treat risk factors if you are younger with type 2 diabetes.” Rawshani added.
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Diabetes drug might ease heart failure risk
A new research has showed that the diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure.
According to the findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago, Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo.
Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. The compound is called dapagliflozin.
The study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.
Patients were randomly assigned to take a dummy placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.
“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.
Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team noted. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.
Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, researchers noted.
Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and kidney outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.
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