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Cardiovascular risk in diabetics

A clinical trial conducted by researchers at The University of Manchester has led to the global transformation in how type 2 diabetic patients are treated to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Research shows that 52% of type 2 diabetic patients die of heart disease. Within five years of the onset of type 2 diabetes, the risk of heart disease is the same as in non-diabetics who have already suffered a heart attack.

The Collaborative Atorvastatin Diabetes Study (CARDS) in 2004, led by Professor Paul Durrington, challenged the previously held view that diabetics would not benefit from taking statins (drugs that lower lipids/cholesterol).

The study showed that the diabetics in the clinical trial who were on statins had a significantly lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than those who were taking the placebo.

The CARDS findings led to changes in major national and international clinical guidelines on statin therapy.

As a result, it is now accepted that statins are more beneficial and more cost effective than any other aspect of type 2 diabetes management.

Statins are now universally considered to be an essential part of diabetic management.

The full impact on global health is difficult to evaluate precisely at present but is likely to be vast.

Many of the 400 million people with diabetes globally live in non-affluent countries. Now that a number of lipid lowering statins are out of patent, many more of the two million cardiovascular deaths which occur annually in diabetes worldwide should be preventable.

“Many of the 400 million people with diabetes globally live in non-affluent countries. Now that a number of lipid lowering statins are out of patent, many more of the 2 million cardiovascular deaths which occur annually in diabetes worldwide should be preventable.”

Paul Durrington / Professor of Medicine