A research has revealed that one if four patients with Type 2 diabetes that had suffered an episode of heart failure have a higher risk of death in the following 18 months.

The study was carried in 2013 by a team led by Dr. William B. White from UConn Health. The findings were presented in the American Diabetes Association’s journal Diabetes Care.

Diabetes and heart failure deadlier when combined
A recent study suggests that patients with Type 2 diabetes that had suffered an episode of heart failure have a higher risk of death in the following 18 months. Credit: Today

The results confirm that patients with diabetes suffering from heart failure need to be attended with much more emphasis as they are more likely to undergo more severe episodes.

Diabetes drugs may not be the problem

The facts point out that patients with type 2 diabetes are at least twice as likely to face heart disease sometime in their lives. The main risk factors tend to be obesity and high blood pressure, especially when paired up with high cholesterol. There are also some drugs directed towards diabetics that place an unusual strain in the heart, thus increasing the risk of heart failure.

The research consisted of the examination of 5,380 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. All of the patients had suffered from heart attacks or unstable angina diverting in hospitalization sometime in their lives. They were prompted to take either a dose of alogliptin or a dummy placebo.

Their evolution was tracked for three years. Alogliptin is a frequently prescribed diabetic drug that lowers blood sugar. It doesn’t cause weight gain, and its effects are very manageable. The patients were monitored until death or until a nonfatal cardiovascular event occurred.

But the research did not show any significant variation in the patients, whether they had taken alogliptin or not. The difference in the rate of death among patients who had received alogliptin against those that had not was 0.8 percent.

Dr. White argues that the study was the “first cardiovascular safety trial of an anti-diabetic drug in patients with acute coronary syndromes.” He commented that it is satisfactory to know that the intake of alogliptin does not increase the rates of cardiovascular mortality.

Drugs for treating diabetes are delicate, as there is still the task of finding a medication that is beneficial to the heart, instead of being harmful or non-influential. It was suggested that there is a significant need in changing how diabetes patients undergo glucose-lowering therapies.

Although a certain degree of cardiovascular safety was determined for alogliptin, there are no pointers towards reducing the incidence of heart disease in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular risk factors for diabetics

Diabetes patients are more likely to suffer from heart disease or strokes at an early age than regular people. People in their middle age with type 2 diabetes are usually regarded as high-risk individuals. Diabetics that had suffered previous cardiovascular episodes are more likely to experience a second one, and on top of that, heart attacks in people diagnosed with diabetes are much more lethal.

An elevated level of glucose in the blood can develop deposits of fat along the blood vessel walls. If there is a blockage in the blood vessels, these may harden, and clogging is much more likely to occur, which is a direct factor in the occurrence of heart disease.

There are many cardiovascular risk factors for people diagnosed with diabetes, but luckily, most can be controlled by performing healthy lifestyle habits.

The most binding risk factor is family history. If a close family member has had a heart attack before its 60 years of age, it is possible that its relatives are at an increased risk of suffering one. The other factors are much less binding since most have a common link among them: diet and exercise.

Obesity on the waist means that the person has an increased production of bad cholesterol (LDL), which is the one responsible for lodging itself along the blood vessel walls. LDL cholesterol can block the patient’s arteries, and triglycerides are also responsible for the hardening of the arteries. Triglycerides are a type of fat that circulates the blood stream, and its incidence is also directly linked to type 2 diabetes.

Hypertension is another risk factor closely related to type 2 diabetes and the others mentioned above. Higher blood pressure means that the brain has to work much harder to pump blood all over the body. The patient having higher blood pressure puts a greater strain in its heart, which can easily lead to a heart attack, eye problems, a stroke, kidney problems and much more.

Last but not least, smoking is one of the worst risk factors since it’s completely avoidable and it’s one of the most harmful. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease. Smoking puts a significant deal of strain on the heart as it manages to put resin, charcoal, and other toxic substances into the blood stream, thus increasing blood pressure, damaging blood vessels and causing long-term complications.

Although there is an increased risk of heart disease for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, it is a fact that most of these risk factors are manageable. All it takes is a little commitment in the patient to make a few modifications in its current lifestyle, all for living a longer and healthier life.

Source: Diabetes Care