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Prim Care. 2003 Sep;30(3):569-92.

Preventing cardiovascular disease in diabetes and glucose intolerance: evidence and implications for care.

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Department of Medicine (Endocrinology), Yale University School of Medicine and Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT, USA.


With the increased attention being given to cardiovascular risk factor reduction, the opportunity exists to substantially decrease the largest cause of mortality in diabetic patients. The concept that type 2 diabetes and CVD are linked via a common etiologic pathway (metabolic syndrome) has substantial ramifications for the care of individual patients. Many of the metabolic abnormalities that contribute to both glycemic disorders and CVD are interrelated. For example, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance coupled with abdominal obesity further worsens HTN and hyperlipidemia. Likewise, the procoagulant state and endothelial dysfunction increase with worsening glycemic control. Specific interventions include tobacco cessation, a food management and physical activity plan, choice of antidiabetic agent (such as metformin), and use of ACE inhibitors for hypertension and microalbuminuria (Table 5). Programs to enhance cardiovascular risk factor reduction as part of the comprehensive evaluation and management of diabetic patients have been described [95,99]. One community-based program provided free screening to diabetic patients with randomization to either annotated result reports provided to the patient and their physician or results provided by a project nurse (either face-to-face or over the phone). Greater improvements in mean glycohemoglobin, cholesterol, and blood pressure were noted with verbal presentation of results [99]. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Diabetes Cost-effectiveness Group support the idea that interventions to decrease CVD in diabetics are economically beneficial. Intensive management of hypertension, glycemic control, and hyperlipidemia each improved health outcomes. Hypertension control reduced costs. Although intensive treatment of glucose and hyperlipidemia increased costs, the increase was comparable to that of other frequently used health care interventions [100]. Further directions include further exploration of the implications and management of metabolic syndrome as it relates to CVD prevention. Interventions such as exercise, which can impact on all outcomes, require special attention. Efforts by physicians, health systems, and society are necessary to increase physical activity for individuals of all ages. It makes clinical sense that the recommendations for prevention of CVD in diabetics described in this article may also benefit patients with prediabetes (fasting glucose 110-125 mg/dl), but this remains to be definitively shown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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