New Guidelines Recommend Statins for Many Diabetes Patients
Most patients with type 2 diabetes should take statins "as a preventive measure against heart disease, whether or not they have high cholesterol levels," according to new guidelines from the American College of Physicians published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the New York Times reports. The guidelines recommend that diabetes patients ages 55 and older, as well as younger patients who have a second risk factor for heart disease, take moderate doses of statins. Dr. Sandeep Vijan of the University of Michigan, lead author of an article that accompanied the guidelines, said that "almost everyone with type 2 diabetes should be on a statin." The average age of diagnosis for diabetes patients is 48, and many patients younger than age 55 also have hypertension, a risk factor for heart disease, Vijan said. According to the article, diabetes treatment in the past has "focused on regulating blood sugar levels by careful control of diet or through insulin injections," but researchers have found that "controlling sugar really protects only against the destruction of small blood vessels" and that heart disease -- which will affect about 80% of diabetes patients -- is the "more serious threat," the Times reports (O'Neil, New York Times, 4/20). The guidelines are available online. An abstract of the article that accompanied the guidelines also is available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.