The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has advised that diabetics consider taking a statin to lower cholesterol, even if they already have low cholesterol levels. Because diabetics are in the high-risk category for heart disease, statins will benefit them, according to the association's latest treatment guidelines.
The new guidelines stem from the results of a British study reported in early 2004 in The Lancet. The study of adults over age 40 found that individuals who took statins had a one third lower risk of stroke. "It is now a consensus that having diabetes is the equivalent in terms of cardiovascular risk of already having had a heart attack," said Nathaniel Clark, MD, PhD, vice president for clinical affairs for the ADA.
In the past 5 years, studies have indicated that statins can lower the levels of C-reactive proteina substance in the blood that is a sign of inflammation in the body and is a predictor of heart disease. A major study called the JUPITER Trial is under way to investigate whether statins can prevent first-time heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular disease in individuals who have low low-density lipoprotein but whose levels of C-reactive protein are high. "Inflammation in general, and C-reactive protein in particular, is a risk factor for diabetes," said Paul Ridker, MD, MPH, who is leading the JUPITER Trial.
One study linked multiple pregnancies to an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation later in life, and another investigated the association between premature delivery and cardiovascular disease.
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