Diabetics Can Reverse Their Atherosclerosis

Aggressive measures to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels below current targets can help to prevent — and potentially even reverse — hardening of the arteries in adults with type 2 diabetes. Hardening of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, is the number one cause of heart disease.

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A three-year study of nearly 500 participants was the first to compare two treatment targets for LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and systolic blood pressure levels in people with diabetes.

To assess the impact of treatments on the participants’ cardiovascular health, researchers used ultrasound to measure the thickness of their carotid (neck) arteries. Ultrasound was also used to measure the size and function of the left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber. Among participants who were given aggressive treatment, carotid artery thickness measurements were significantly lower.

Aggressive treatment measures included Food and Drug Administration-approved blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Participants were also encouraged to follow lifestyle approaches — such as following a heart-healthy eating plan, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking — to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol.
Sources:
Science Daily April 9, 2008
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) April 9, 2008; 299[14]:1678-1689

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