Promising treatment for heart and kidney health in type 2 diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that hinders the body’s ability to use insulin effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels. Over time, this can damage various organs, particularly the heart and kidneys.

People with this condition are significantly more likely to develop serious health issues like heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and diabetic nephropathy, which can progress to end-stage kidney disease.

In an exciting development, researchers at Monash University, along with colleagues from other institutions, have identified a medication that not only lowers blood sugar levels but also reduces the risk of heart and kidney diseases in people with type 2 diabetes.

The drug, known as sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is), has been the subject of recent studies analyzing its broader health benefits and economic impact.

This groundbreaking study is the first to specifically evaluate the cost-effectiveness of SGLT2is based solely on their potential to prevent heart and kidney diseases, without considering their ability to manage blood sugar levels.

The results are promising: SGLT2is are a cost-effective treatment option for all individuals with type 2 diabetes, irrespective of their current blood sugar management.

The implications of these findings are significant. In 2019, clinical guidelines were updated to acknowledge the benefits of SGLT2is in preventing heart and kidney diseases.

Given the new evidence from this study, there is a strong case for the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to reassess the prescribing criteria for SGLT2is, potentially making these benefits accessible to more people.

The government, however, faces a challenging balancing act. It must weigh the costs and benefits of such treatments against other health priorities, making decisions that best allocate resources across the population.

According to Diabetes Australia, nearly 1.9 million Australians are living with diabetes, including about 500,000 who may not yet know they have the condition.

With kidney and heart disease being among the most common complications associated with diabetes, the potential for SGLT2is to mitigate these risks is particularly relevant.

Beyond managing blood sugar, addressing the risks of heart and kidney diseases is crucial in the overall management of type 2 diabetes.

The damage that high blood sugar levels can cause to the small blood vessels in the kidneys, for example, impairs their ability to filter waste effectively. This can lead to diabetic nephropathy, a leading cause of kidney disease in people with diabetes.

Preventing kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes involves comprehensive management of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, through lifestyle changes, medications, and regular medical check-ups.

The study, conducted by Jedidiah Morton and his team, published in Diabetologia, underscores the potential of SGLT2is as a valuable addition to the current treatment options for people living with type 2 diabetes.

This could revolutionize the approach to managing the condition, shifting the focus from simply controlling blood sugar to preventing some of its most harmful complications.

For those interested in broader health implications, related studies suggest that natural products like pomace olive oil and honey might also support health management in diabetes, while coffee consumption has been linked to reduced risk of kidney injury.

These findings collectively offer hope and several avenues for better managing the health of those living with type 2 diabetes.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a cure for type 2 diabetes, and these vegetables could protect against kidney damage in diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about bone drug that could lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and results showing eating more eggs linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

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