Diabetes is often associated with a high risk of death from heart disease. ADA followed recommendations from two major heart health organizations – the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology – that recommend people at risk of heart disease to take cholesterol lowering drugs.
Dr. Richard Grant, chairman of the ADA’s professional practice committee, said that people diagnosed with diabetes have the same risk of dying as people diagnosed with heart disease. So both groups should be on statins, Mr. Grant said.
However, some people affected by diabetes do not need statins – young, healthiery people and seniors affected by other diseases that may result in premature death.
Dr. Grant also said that the first cause of death among people with diabetes was heart disease. They are two to four times more likely to die of a heart condition than healthy people.
“In the old days, all we thought about was sugar, and nowadays we recognize that the leading killer in diabetes is heart disease. You have to be aggressive in controlling risks,”
Mr. Grant said.
Mr. Grant also said that ADA would update its guidelines for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes every year as research brings new data.
For next year, ADA recommends a moderate statin dose for diabetic patients under 40, while older patients should use statins if they do not have another health condition that may lower their life expectancy.
Dr. Spyros Mezitis, endocrinology expert, said that people diagnosed with diabetes should ask their GP if they should take statins. Doctors would prescribe them cholesterol-drugs depending on the results in cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels tests.
ADA also recommends that diabetic patients should keep their diastolic blood pressure around 90 mm Hg, instead of 80 mm Hg, and do physical exercises on a daily basis.
ADA’s guidelines also show that people with diabetes should do resistance training at least two times a week if they aren’t affected by other health condition. Also, they shouldn’t spend more than 90 minutes a day in inactivity.
The guidelines include some extra information. For instance, older people should get pneumonia vaccines in two shots separated by one year. Also, Asians should get screened for diabetes when their BMI reaches 23, not 25 as in white American population, since their risk for diabetes is higher at a lower BMI. Plus, according to ADA, e-cigarettes do not help people quit smoking.
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