Ask any physician who treats patients with type 2 diabetes, and they are likely aware of the impact it can have on an individual’s cardiovascular health. For their patients, though, it’s another story. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and disability for patients with type 2 diabetes 1-3 and individuals with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop CVD as people without diabetes .4
“While we know that people with type 2 diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, we really need everyone to understand the extent to which we manage blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol is directly related to the degree to which we can dramatically reduce the risk of CVD and stroke in persons with type 2 diabetes,” said Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention and Chief of the Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation for the American Heart Association.
Higher prevalence of comorbidities like hypertension and elevated cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes further confirm that treatment in these populations should extend beyond the management of A1C, and more broadly into cardiometabolic risk factor management.
Furthermore, recent studies (DECLARE-TIMI 58, EMPA-REG OUTCOME, LEADER, SUSTAIN-6, etc.) have shown that the newer diabetes medications have well proven cardiovascular benefits as well as glucose management. “Patients on SGLT2 inhibitors or GLP-1 receptor agonists meant to control their blood glucose also see a reduction in all major CV events,” Sanchez added.
According to a 2018 Harris Poll survey of patients 45 years or older living with diabetes, only about half of those surveyed knew they were at risk for heart disease or have discussed this risk with their healthcare provider, let alone have taken steps to reduce it. 5 Moreover, research shows that only 42% of primary care doctors have discussed the risk of CVD with all their patients. 6
To combat this national issue, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have joined forces to raise consumer awareness, advance quality improvement in health systems and educate providers on the latest science recommendations. Through Know Diabetes by Heart™ , these organizations are providing healthcare providers with powerful tools, education and resources to equip them to better manage cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. These resources can be found at www.KnowDiabetesByHeart.org/professional, and include:
- Guidance on the latest management and treatment guidelines for managing CVD risk in type 2 diabetes patients
- A new proprietary app - A1CVD Pro - that lets you simulate the real cases to help improve clinical decision-making and knowledge of treatment guidelines
- Educational podcasts and webinars hosted by leading experts
- Treatment algorithms, shared decision-making guides, and patient discussion guides
Since primary care providers treat and manage the majority of the 30 million adults in the U.S. living with type 2 diabetes, 7 it’s critical that they empower patients in their treatment plan, stay on top of the latest diabetes and cardiovascular science, and be current on advanced therapies in order to help ensure the best patient outcomes.