Preventing Heart Attacks

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • The large managed care group Kaiser Permanente recently reported that among their diabetes patients, reaching targets for cholesterol and blood pressure levels was even more important for reducing the risk of heart attack than reaching blood glucose (BG) targets.


    They said that those who met none of the guidelines or those who met only the BG guidelines were most likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack or stroke.


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    We know that when we have diabetes, we’re at increased risk of heart disease. But it’s sometimes so difficult to maintain BG levels in the normal ranges that we forget that normal BGs alone won’t protect us from heart disease. Genetics play a large part, but we can’t get new parents and grandparents, so we have to focus on what we can change, and that includes BG levels, blood pressure, and lipid levels.

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    Lipids include both cholesterol and triglycerides. The effect of cholesterol on heart disease in nondiabetic people who haven’t yet had a cardiac event is controversial. When we have diabetes, we’re generally considered to be at the same risk as a nondiabetic person who has had a heart attack, but even this is controversial.


    Only 13% of the 26,636 Kaiser patients studied met the targets for all three factors: hemoglobin A1c less than 7, systolic blood pressure less than 130, and LDL cholesterol less than 100. Those who met all three targets had a hospitalization rate about 2.5 times lower than those who didn’t.


    It never hurts to be reminded we have to take care of our total health, not just our BG levels.






Published On: January 31, 2013