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Am J Ther. 2009 Nov-Dec;16(6):e51-9. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e31815db924.

Therapeutic implications of diabetes in cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Chicago Medical School, VA Medical Center, North Chicago, Illinois 60064, USA.


Insulin-resistant diabetes is becoming more prevalent among the general U.S. population. Approximately 20 million people had diabetes in 2005, of which one third of the population had impaired fasting glucose. The prevalence rate is 9%, a more alarming rate in the 20- to 39-year age group, which suggests a significant degree of how even the young are affected. We review how the prediabetic stage (impaired glucose tolerance-impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance-impaired glucose tolerance) plays a vital role as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and the effectiveness of lifestyle modifications with drug therapy reduces the cardiovascular risk of early diabetes and its complications. A lifestyle modification like effective weight loss and exercise, with or without antidiabetic drugs, prevents the proatherogenic effects of diabetes. Controlled, randomized studies have shown that progression to diabetes among those with prediabetes is not inevitable; people with prediabetes who lose weight and increase their physical activity can prevent or delay diabetes and could even return their blood glucose levels to normal. Although prevention of prediabetes is a huge challenge, a tight glycemic control with lifestyle modifications and antihyperglycemics like thiazolidinediones play a vital role in increasing the insulin sensitivity of tissues and decreasing the cardiovascular risk factor of diabetes.

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