Strategies to help patients stay heart-healthy

Many type 2 diabetes patients seem to be unaware of—or at least underestimate—their risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). At least half of patients fail to reach treatment targets for A1C, blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. What’s more, researchers have found an “alarmingly low” adherence rate for highrisk diabetes patients who are prescribed statins and/or ACE inhibitors: Only 34% are fully compliant with treatment—and they have significantly lower rates of major cardiac events versus patients who are noncompliant.

The low adherence is particularly worrisome since research shows that T2DM patients with high CV risk factors can expect a reduced life expectancy of up to 12 years or greater.3 “We’ve known for a long time that a patient with diabetes has as much cardiovascular disease risk as a nondiabetic patient who’s had a single heart attack. And this realization has fueled a lot of research over the last 10 years,” notes Suneil Koliwad, MD, assistant professor of medicine and a chair of diabetes research at the University of California-San Francisco Diabetes Center. “I think six or seven years ago the focus for diabetes management was primarily on glucose control…but now we know that if you want to prevent heart disease, you have to control diabetes and the cardiovascular risk factors.”

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