Diabetes treatments may be harmful - Macleans.ca

Diabetes treatments may be harmful

Efforts to lower risk of heart attack could be dangerous: study


Three treatments to prevent heart attacks among people with Type 2 diabetes, and those on the verge of developing it, don’t seem to help—in fact, in new studies, they were shown to be ineffective or harmful, the New York Times reports. So far, the only proven ways to reduce the risk of a heart attack among those with Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes are avoiding cigarettes, and taking medication to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Even so, Type 2 diabetics will be at a risk equivalent to a non-diabetic person who’s already suffered from a heart attack. To address this, doctors began to look at new strategies, including lowering blood pressure to a normal range, raising levels of good cholesterol and lowering levels of bad ones, and controlling upswings in blood sugar after eating. In one large U.S. study, experts looked at whether getting high blood pressure down to normal levels would protect diabetics from heart disease. Half of the study’s 4,773 participants took drugs to get their blood pressure down to 120 or below, while the others had a goal of less than 140. But lower blood pressure didn’t prevent heart attacks or cardiovascular deaths, and those with lower blood pressure were more likely to have side effects from drugs. In another study, which involved 9,300 patients at high risk for diabetes due to high blood sugar, patients were given the drug nateglinide, which enhances insulin secretion, and a blood pressure drug. Neither reduced heart attack risk. “It’s hard to make a case for a public health recommendation,” Dr. Daniel Einhorn, president-elect of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. “But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a benefit in an individual case.”

New York Times

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