This diabetes drug could protect heart and kidney health

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For the millions of people battling type 2 diabetes, the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure loom large. But a ray of hope shines through the work of researchers from Monash University and other institutions.

They’ve spotlighted a medication that not only helps manage blood sugar levels but also significantly cuts down the risk of heart and kidney diseases.

This drug, known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is), is stepping out as a cost-effective warrior against diabetes-related complications.

SGLT2 inhibitors work by helping the kidneys lower blood sugar levels in the body. This action is crucial for people with type 2 diabetes, a condition where the body struggles to use insulin properly, leading to high sugar levels in the blood.

Over time, these elevated levels can wreak havoc on the body’s blood vessels and organs, especially the kidneys and heart.

The study conducted by Jedidiah Morton and his team is pioneering in its approach. For the first time, it delves into the cost-effectiveness of SGLT2is, focusing solely on their ability to prevent heart and kidney diseases in people with type 2 diabetes.

Their findings are encouraging: SGLT2is are not only beneficial for all individuals with this condition, regardless of their blood sugar control challenges but are also a value-for-money treatment option.

The implications of these findings are vast. Since 2019, clinical guidelines have acknowledged the effectiveness of SGLT2is in preventing heart and kidney diseases.

Now, with solid evidence of their cost-effectiveness, there’s a strong case for wider access to this medication through schemes like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

This could mean more people with type 2 diabetes have the opportunity to use this medication to fend off severe complications.

Currently, nearly 1.9 million Australians are living with diabetes, including around 500,000 who may not even know they have it. For these individuals, the threat of kidney and heart disease is a pressing concern. Kidney disease, in particular, is a stealthy foe.

High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys’ intricate blood vessels, leading to diabetic nephropathy, a leading cause of kidney failure. By managing blood sugar levels and adopting a healthy lifestyle, the risk of this damage can be minimized.

SGLT2 inhibitors offer a promising addition to the arsenal against type 2 diabetes, providing a dual benefit: controlling blood sugar and protecting the heart and kidneys.

This study’s findings underscore the importance of such medications in the broader strategy to manage and prevent the complications associated with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition that affects the body’s insulin use and blood sugar regulation. Without proper management, it can lead to serious health issues, including damage to the kidneys, a condition known as diabetic nephropathy.

This damage can progress to end-stage kidney disease, highlighting the critical need for effective treatments.

The study by Morton and colleagues offers hope and a path forward, emphasizing the need for accessible and cost-effective treatments.

By shining a light on SGLT2 inhibitors, they’re not just presenting a medical recommendation; they’re advocating for a change in how we approach the treatment of type 2 diabetes, with an eye towards prevention and overall health.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about drug that prevents kidney failure in diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.

For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about foods that may prevent recurrence of kidney stones, and common painkillers may harm heart, kidneys and more.

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