PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For people with diabetes, meeting the recommended guidelines for blood pressure and cholesterol is even more important than meeting the guidelines for blood-sugar control in reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The study included more than 26,000 patients with diabetes. Patients who met guidelines for all three risk factors and those who met the blood pressure and cholesterol guidelines were least likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack or stroke. Those who met none of the guidelines and those who met only the blood-sugar guidelines were most likely to be hospitalized for a heart attack or stroke.
"People with diabetes are often focused on controlling their blood sugar, but our study found that controlling blood pressure and cholesterol is even more important in preventing heart disease," said Greg Nichols , PhD, lead author of the study and senior investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. "This doesn't mean that people with diabetes should ignore their blood-sugar levels. They should still get regular A1C tests to measure and control their blood glucose, but it's also important to pay attention to other factors that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease."
Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely than people without diabetes to have cardiovascular disease, and most people with diabetes will die from a heart attack or stroke, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There is abundant evidence that controlling the ABCs — A1C (an average measure of blood sugar), blood pressure and cholesterol — can reduce the risk, but until now it has been unclear which of these factors is most important.
The American Diabetes Association recommends