Lower blood pressure good for diabetics


 “Study shows hypertension drug reduces heart attacks, kidney problems for diabetic patients”


THE results of a large international study released recently (3 September 2007) may herald a sea of change in how diabetic patients are treated.

The extensive study, which followed more than 11,000 patients in 20 countries for four years, showed strong evidence that diabetic patients – no matter whether they had hypertension or not – should be given medication to lower their blood pressure below normal levels.

With lower than normal blood pressure, the diabetics had significantly less risk of death, heart attacks and kidney problems.

Released to an international audience of 25,000 doctors and specialists at the European Society of Cardiologists Congress in Vienna, the study was hailed by many attendees.

The study was also released online yesterday by prestigious medical journal. The Lancet.

By 2025, an estimated 380 million people will be living with diabetes worldwide. Heart disease kills two out of three people with diabetes, who are at increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and related conditions such as degenerative eye disease and kidney problems.

In the study, half the subjects were given a combination therapy to lower blood pressure. This was on top of their current medication to control their blood sugar, their cholesterol levels and also hypertension. The rest were given a placebo on top of their current medication.

Not only did their blood pressures come down, the treated group had their risk of death cut by 14 percent.

The risks of heart attacks were also cut by 14 percent, plus there was a 21 per cent less chance ot suffering kidney problems.

One of the two principal investigators of the study, Dr John Chalmers, senior director at The George Institute for International Health in Australia, said that he would give the combination pill to all diabetic patients, regardless of their current blood pressure level, as it was very safe.

He said:” If the benefits seen in this study were applied to just half the population with diabetes worldwide, more than a million deaths would be avoided over five years.”

His co-investigator, Dr Stephen MacMahon, principal director of The George Institute, said: “The benefit is there, with or without hypertension, and in the presence or absence of treatment with other drugs.”

Singapore doctors who attended the conference, such as Associate Professor Tan Huay Cheem, chief of National University Hospital’s cardiac department, as well as Dr Low Lip Ping and Dr Bernard Ee, cardiologists in private practice, thought that the study was “important”.

The international study underlined the need for the aggressive approach when dealing with diabetic patients’ Mood pressure symptoms, said the doctors.

However, they said, more evidence is needed before the extra step of treating all diabetics with anti-hypertensive drugs  is taken.

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Category: Managing Diabetes


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