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Older Diabetics not taking kidney and heart protective drugs

by Medindia Content Team on April 18, 2006 at 7:53 PM
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Older Diabetics not taking kidney and heart protective drugs

A new University of Michigan study reveals startling results that 43 percent of older people with diabetes receive medicines that could protect their heart and kidneys. This is when these two damages are most common in diabetes.

Although ACE inhibitors and ARBs, have been recommended by national diabetes-treatment guidelines for years hardly anyone uses it. This is when there is strong evidence that they can prevent heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and other problems that disproportionately threaten older people who have diabetes..

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U-M Medical School researcher Allison Rosen, M.D., Sc.D., conducted the study using data from the federal National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The lead author says, "These are drugs that we know save lives and save money, and still we're only using them in less than half of the people who could benefit. It's especially striking that their rate of use isn't much higher in people most likely to gain - that is, those with multiple clinical indications and risk factors."
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The backing behind this is that such a program ultimately would save lives and reduce spending by preventing cardiovascular and kidney-related health complications -- and the costly hospitalizations, dialysis sessions, operations and other treatments they would require.

Cardiovascular disease of any sort including heart failure, history of heart attack or stroke, or clogged coronary arteries; high blood pressure, whether controlled by medication or not; and the presence of protein in the patient's urine, a condition called albuminuria that indicates impaired kidney function were examined.

The results were that 92 percent of the participants in the new study met at least one of the three clinical guideline indications, and 100 percent either had one of the clinical indications or an additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

"In other words, every one of the people in this nationally representative survey probably should have been taking an ACE inhibitor or an ARB, and most weren't," says Rosen. "The more risk factors and indications someone had, the more likely they were to be on one of these drugs, but still, even in people with four or more indications to be treated with these life saving drugs, only 53 percent were on them."

Thus there is a grave need to generate awareness and tell diabetics what harm they are doing to themselves.

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