Prior to the opening of the ADA Scientific Sessions, the ADA announced a new partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA) and multiple pharmaceutical companies that target therapies in relevant fields. The partnership, according to the ADA, is intended to raise awareness regarding the risks of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes, a disease so frequent in the United States that they currently project it as affecting more than 30 million Americans.
This large population is at a significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease, driving the AHA’s desire in aligning with the ADA. In an interview with Pharmacy Times® sister publication MD Magazine®, AHA Chief Medical Officer for Prevention Eduardo J. Sanchez, MD, MPH, noted that the partnership is based on mutual desire from the ADA and AHA to extend and ultimately save lives. “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,” observed Dr. Sanchez.
The collaboration will emphasize several key areas, according to Dr. Sanchez. “[We want] 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.” Additionally, he said, “we want patients with diabetes to understand that cardiovascular disease is the most likely thing to cause them life-ending or life-threatening problems.”
Dr. Sanchez also noted that health care providers need to improve their awareness and communicate more effectively with patients. “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.”
Finally, changes are needed at the “systems level,” according to Dr. Sanchez. “[We are] 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 to save the lives of patients.”
According to Dr. Sanchez, collaboration will be key as research, development, and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease expand in scope. “Here’s some rough numbers: 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure. At least 1 out of 3 has a combination of high blood pressure and lipid disorders. Roughly 1 in 10 of the population has diabetes, but 1 out of 3 adults has pre-diabetes,” Dr. Sanchez noted. “You put all of that mix together, and there is a real urgency to getting things done. The good news is that we know what to do. We just need to systematically get those things done.”
Dr. Sanchez noted that prevention is key to any partnership addressing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. “Eating healthy, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight is the way to do it,” he explained. “Once you have any of those conditions described on the other side, it’s critically important to manage those with lifestyle and whatever might be the appropriate medical interventions.”