Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Drug Mix May Tame Diabetes Heart Risk

Controlling Blood Sugar Is Just Part of Picture, Type 2 Diabetes Study Shows
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 6, 2008 -- Type 2 diabetes raises heart risks, and it may be possible to cut that risk by taking a multi-pronged approach instead of just focusing on blood sugar. And the sooner, the better.

That's the message from a new Danish study of 160 adults with type 2 diabetes and microalbuminuria, which is a sign that their diabetes had started to affect their kidneys.

Half of the patients got conventional drug treatment for their diabetes. The other half got intensive treatment, which included blood pressure drugs, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and aspirin, as well as drugs to control their blood sugar.

The patients were followed for 13 years. During that time, 24 patients in the intensive therapy group died, compared with 40 patients in the conventional treatment group.

Compared with patients who received conventional treatment, patients in the intensive treatment group were 46% less likely to die of any cause, 57% less likely to die of a heart problem, and 59% less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event.

It's not clear which aspect of the intensive treatment was most important.

The patients in the intensive treatment group were also supposed to eat a low-fat diet, quit smoking, and get 30 minutes of exercise several times a week. But they didn't, which may mean they missed out on further cutting their risk of heart problems and death.

"Despite enormous efforts to change lifestyle in the intensive arm, we were not successful in this study of middle-aged and elderly people," Professor of Medicine Oluf Pedersen, MD, DMSc, of Denmark's Steno Diabetes Center, tells WebMD by email. "Lifestyle should be changed at much younger ages."

"It's not enough to just know your blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. You need to take action and do something about those risk factors" early on and stick with it, Pedersen says.

The report appears in tomorrow's edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article