Early treatment for type 2 diabetes can strongly reduce heart disease risk

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Research Overview

A recent study from Aarhus University Hospital has brought a ray of hope for patients with type 2 diabetes.

The research suggests that diagnosing type 2 diabetes early and starting preventive medications against heart disease can substantially reduce the risk of heart attacks and premature death.

Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern that affects millions of people globally.

Tragically, individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease compared to those without diabetes.

The Study

In this research, scientists investigated how changes in the management of type 2 diabetes patients over the past two decades have influenced the risk of heart attacks and premature death in patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, with no previous history of heart disease.

The study involved identifying all patients in Denmark who started therapy for type 2 diabetes from 1996 to 2011, totalling 211,278 patients. Each patient with diabetes was matched by age and sex with five non-diabetic individuals from the general population, and all participants were followed for seven years.


The study found that patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and no prior cardiovascular disease experienced significant reductions in the risk of heart attack and death.

From 1996 to 2011, the relative risk was reduced by 61% for heart attack and by 41% for death. The absolute risks of heart attack and death were also reduced by 4% and 12%, respectively.

Over the course of the study, the initially large differences in risk between patients with diabetes and the general population diminished significantly.

By the end of the study, the risk of heart attack among patients with diabetes was only marginally higher — 0.6% — than in the general population.

The research also discovered a marked increase in the use of medications that prevent heart disease during the study period.

The use of cholesterol-lowering medications increased more than 10-fold, aspirin use increased by 50%, and blood pressure-lowering medications increased up to four times.


These findings suggest that initiating preventive medications when patients are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can have a substantial effect on reducing the risk of heart attacks and premature death.

Additionally, the risk of heart attack and premature death among patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and no previous heart disease was approximately halved from 1996 to 2011.

This study underscores the importance of early diagnosis and management of type 2 diabetes, with a heightened focus on preventing cardiovascular disease.

The research was conducted by Dr. Christine Gyldenkerne and colleagues.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about the key cause of type 2 diabetes, and this eating habit could help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about unhealthy plant-based diets linked to metabolic syndrome, and results showing ultrasound may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

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