More than 1 in 10 American adults have diabetes. But the multibillion-dollar blockbuster drugs marketed as treatment for diabetes haven't proved to be so successful against the biggest cause of death related to it: heart disease.
Four new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine are a stark warning to diabetics who rely on drugs to lower their risk of heart attacks and strokes.
One found that using antihypertensives to lower systolic blood does nothing to lower risk of heart complications; another found no benefit to adding a drug to raise HDL ("good") cholesterol. And no heart benefits were associated with two drugs given to lower high blood sugar levels.
Evidence is accumulating that diabetics may not benefit -- and may even be worse off -- when they're treated with a number of diabetes medications. The real take-home message here is that those with diabetes shouldn't forget about the importance of lifestyle factors. Losing excess weight, increasing activity levels, and improving nutrition habits will lead to better control of diabetes and lower risks of heart disease.