type-2-diabetes-heart-disease

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 controlling blood sugar levels to prevent damage to your nerves, eyes, heart and kidneys.

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.

SGLT-2 inhibitors

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.

“Explore."

GLP-1 agonists

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.

Are you at risk for heart disease? Take the quiz today.

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.

About the author

Peter McCullough, MD
More articles

Peter McCullough, MD, is the Chief of Cardiovascular Research at Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute. He helps lead the team of world-renowned cardiologists affiliated with the Institute and with Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital. Dr. McCullough is a graduate of Baylor University. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas, Southwestern Medical School in 1988. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine and, in 1994, a Master in Public Health degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He also completed a three-year fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan.

2 thoughts on “Breakthroughs in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease”

  1. Pingback: Sit less, move more: 5 ways to squeeze more physical activity into your day | Scrubbing In

  2. Pingback: Why a healthy lifestyle (not a daily aspirin) is key to preventing heart disease | Scrubbing In

Leave a Reply

Breakthroughs in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease