Preventing heart disease should be a priority for people with type 2 diabetes, study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that even when risk factors linked to heart disease are optimally controlled, adults with Type 2 diabetes still have a greater risk of developing heart disease.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Manchester.

Previous studies have shown that people with Type 2 diabetes had little or no excess risk of heart disease events or death when all risk factors are optimally controlled.

In the study, the team sought to determine how the degree of risk factor control in people with Type 2 diabetes impacted heart disease risk and mortality.

They analyzed data between 2006 and 2015 using two sources: The Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and the Scottish Care Information-Diabetes (SCI-Diabetes) dataset with linkage to hospital and mortality data.

More than 101,000 people with Type 2 diabetes were identified and matched with nearly 379,000 people without diabetes in CPRD and nearly 331,000 with Type 2 diabetes in SCI-Diabetes.

The team focused on five heart risk factors: blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose, and examined the association to future cardiovascular events and death among these risk factors that were optimally controlled.

Additionally, they examined if the presence of heart and kidney diseases impacted these connections.

Their analysis found that only 6% of participants with Type 2 diabetes had all five risk factors within the target range.

Even when all five heart risk factors were optimally controlled, people with Type 2 diabetes still had a 21% higher risk for heart disease and 31% higher risk for heart failure hospitalization than people without diabetes.

The association among the number of elevated risk factors and heart disease risk was stronger in people with Type 2 diabetes who did not have heart and kidney diseases.

The team says people with Type 2 diabetes should be treated for heart risk factors as early as possible, regardless of whether they have heart disease or not.

There is real potential here to reduce the overall impact of Type 2 diabetes on future heart disease events, especially for patients with Type 2 diabetes who have not yet been diagnosed with heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, the seven risk factors that people can improve through lifestyle changes to achieve ideal heart health are managing blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, increasing physical activity, eating healthy foods, losing weight and quitting smoking.

One author of the study is Alison Wright, Ph.D.

The study is published in Circulation.

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