Just before the start of the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced the start of a new multiyear collaborative initiative supported by several pharmaeutical companies, with the goal to help people with type 2 diabetes reduce their risk of cardiovascular events.

Adults with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to have cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, heart failure, heart attack and stroke, than people without diabetes. The combined risks have a significant impact–shortening life expectancy by an average of 12 years for adults at age 60 with both conditions. In people with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risk remains high even when blood sugar levels are controlled, leaving many unaware of the danger.

In an interview with MD, Pharmacy Times' sister publication, AHA Chief Medical Officer for Prevention Eduardo J. Sanchez, MD, MPH, explained: "Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are both highly prevalent conditions among adults in the United States. The science tells us what we need to do, and we’re going to combine forces to do that better. We’ve got 4 areas that we want to focus on:
 
  • To increase awareness in the general population, that those with diabetes have a very high risk of cardiovascular disease, and of the bad things that come with cardiovascular disease.
  • We want patients with diabetes to understand that cardiovascular disease is the most likely thing to cause them life-ending or life-threatening problems.
  • We want physicians and other clinicians to not only be better aware, but to do better at managing glucose, blood pressure, lipids, and maybe most importantly, making a very strong statement about lifestyle modification — eating healthier, being physically active, and to quit smoking.
  • Thinking about the systems of care — the clinical setting and practices where people get care, the hospitals — and doing everything we can at a systems level — information systems, processes, procedures, decision support — to make those systems support the work being done by clinicians, that is being done to save the lives of patients."

Founding sponsors include Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), and Novo Nordisk. Additional support for the initiative is provided by national sponsor, Sanofi.

“Diabetes is the most expensive chronic health condition in the US, totaling $327 billion in overall annual costs in 2017; moreover, one in every seven healthcare dollars is spent directly treating diabetes and its complications,” Tracey D. Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Diabetes Association said in a press release about the initiative. “Reducing cardiovascular disease risk among people with type 2 diabetes can improve quality and length of life, and it can help to reduce our national healthcare expenses. This collaboration codifies a critical collective mission—to improve and enhance the lives of the more than 30 million Americans with diabetes.”