Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), a risk factor for heart attacks, is characterized by atherosclerosis, a condition in which blood vessels of the legs are narrowed by fatty deposits. PAD is a risk factor for heart attacks because the atherosclerosis probably also occurs in the coronary arteries.
Researchers at the University of Colorado studied a group of 955 people with diabetes. The subjects, 483 of whom had normal blood pressure and 52 of whom had PAD, were given, either a placebo or a blood pressure lowering drug. In the first group, blood pressure went down to an average of 137/81 mm Hg and in the second the level was 128/75 mm Hg. The American Heart Association recommends a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mm Hg for people with diabetes. The drug group, which had 22 patients with PAD, reported only three heart attacks, while among the 31 PAD patients in the placebo group, 12 were reported to have suffered from heart attacks.
The importance of lowering blood pressure in diabetic patients gains more significance with this new study.