In a recent study, researchers found that a drug used to treat people living with Type 2 diabetes could also help improve their heart function.
They discovered that Empagliflozin, which is typically prescribed to help reduce blood sugar levels in patients with Type 2, could also enhance the function of their hearts.
The study is from the University of Leeds. One researcher is Dr. Sharmaine Thirunavukarasu.
An estimated 3.7 million people in the UK are diagnosed with the condition which can damage the walls of the arteries and lead to a heart attack or heart failure.
In the study, the team recruited 18 people living with Type 2 diabetes to take this medication on clinical grounds and they were monitored over three months.
The patients underwent MRI scans of their hearts, along with blood tests, before treatment.
Their results were compared with people living without the condition and the team found that patients living with Type 2 diabetes typically had lower energy levels in their heart.
They also found that patients had a lower percentage of the blood being pumped from their hearts each time it contracts.
Twelve weeks later, follow-up scans and blood tests were carried out and in most patients, these revealed significant improvements in the heart’s energy levels, along with relative improvements in the percentage of the blood being pumped from their heart.
It also discovered a 61% average reduction of a substance called NT-proBNP in their blood. High levels of this substance can be an indication of heart failure.
The team says adults with diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop heart and circulatory diseases, so it is crucial that we find new medicines which can not only reduce blood sugar levels but can also simultaneously protect the heart.
This study shows encouraging signs that empagliflozin could be the drug to do just that, and provides new insights into just how this medication can benefit the heart’s function.
This is important if doctors want to recommend this drug to more people living with Type 2 diabetes in the future, to avoid conditions such as heart failure and to improve their quality of life.
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