Breakthroughs in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease
When we consider the rising prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, the numbers are sobering. Here’s a quick snapshot of Type 2 diabetes in America:
- 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year (90 percent of all diagnoses are Type 2 diabetes)
- Between 1990 and 2010, the number of Americans with diabetes more than tripled
- Nearly 24 percent of people who have diabetes are undiagnosed
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America
It is clear that Type 2 diabetes is a serious problem, not only because of its rising numbers but also because of its health implications. After you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the focus turns to
These two breakthroughs in Type 2 diabetes treatment may not only prevent the need for
insulin,but also reduce the rates of heart disease related to Type 2 diabetes, significantly improving your health and quality of life.
Type 2 diabetes has been associated with an up to four times greater risk of heart disease and stroke, and is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure.
Fortunately, recent breakthroughs are bringing new hope to people living with Type 2 diabetes, and to those of us caring for their health.
As a cardiologist, I’m particularly excited about what this means for the hearts of people living with diabetes. If that’s you, you should share in my excitement — these two breakthroughs in Type 2 diabetes treatment may not only prevent the need for insulin, but also reduce the rates of heart disease related to Type 2 diabetes, significantly improving your health and quality of life.
Related: 7 ways a plant-based diet can help you manage diabetes
The two promising Type 2 diabetes treatments you should know
Let’s break down how these medications work and how they may play a role in fighting heart disease.
There is a new class of oral medications called SGLT-2 inhibitors that causes excess glucose, or sugar, to be lost in the urine. This can result in better diabetes control, lower blood pressure and weight loss. Three large trials have shown there is approximately a 30 percent reduction in heart failure and cardiovascular death for people who use these medications.
The other major advance is a class of injectable medications that can be given once a week called GLP-1 agonists. These medications also help control blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin after meals, increasing fullness and reducing your liver’s ability to make glucose. They often lead to weight loss and have resulted in about a 25 percent reduction in heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.
Although not a universal solution by any means, these medications have the potential to help many patients avoid going onto insulin or reduce insulin needs, and achieve weight loss. With that weight loss, other aspects of health often improve, empowering you to live a healthier and longer life — hopefully, free of the impacts of heart disease.
As we look for ways to slow the rise of heart disease, we can be encouraged by these advancements that are renewing optimism and improving quality of life for people living with Type 2 diabetes.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, your heart health matters.
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