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Heart attack risk reduced in patients with type 2 diabetes

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Intensive regimes to reduce blood sugar levels can substantially lower the risk of heart attacks in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to research published in The Lancet.

It reports the results of five trials showing that the risk is cut by a fifth, although it does not appear to affect the incidence of strokes or alter death rates.

The blood molecule haemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) is used to measure blood-sugar levels. It is between 4% and 5% in healthy individuals, but often exceeds 6.5% in diabetics.

The trials showed that patients on standard treatments maintained an average level of 7.5%, but that fell to 6.5% among those who underwent intensive treatment.

Type 2 diabetes is linked with lifestyle and affects more than two million people in the UK. In most cases, treatments increase levels of insulin or boost the body’s sensitivity to it.

Among patients taking part in the trials there were 1,497 heart attacks, 2,318 cases of heart disease and 1,227 strokes. Intensive treatment resulted in 17% fewer heart attacks and a 15% reduced risk of heart disease.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Don't these results cast yet more doubt on the standard dietary advice still given out to Type 2 diabetics? This is a diet relatively high in carbohydrates, despite the obvious fact that diabetics can't metabolise them effectively because of insulin resistance.

    Now that BG monitoring is widely available, many of us T2s are becoming aware of the high post-prandial peaks that follow a high carbohydratemeal. The answer is blindingly obvious; stop eating lots of carbs. This immediately reduces or eliminates the peaks, and subsequently dramatically reduce HbA1C levels, as well as improving HDL/LDL ratios and reducing blood triglycerides.

    Adopting such a diabetically healthy diet enables medication to be reduced or eliminated altogether- surely a sounder approach than eating lots of carbs and then having to take medication to deal with them!

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