ACP guidelines: Many diabetics should be taking statins

All people with type 2 diabetes mellitus and coronary artery disease (CAD), and all people with diabetes and any other risk for cardiovascular disease, should be taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, the American College of Physicians (ACP) said in new guidelines published in the April 20, 2004, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

This is the second ACP guideline on aggressive management of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes. In April 2003, ACP called for tight control of blood pressure for people with diabetes.

An estimated 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes will develop or die of complications of heart and vessel disease, and about 65 percent of deaths among people with diabetes are due to heart disease and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association.

"We want both physicians and patients to know that when treating diabetes, controlling cardiovascular risk factors, particularly cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, is as important as controlling blood sugar," said Vincenza Snow, MD, FACP, senior medical associate in the department of scientific policy at the American College of Physicians.

"This is life-saving information," Dr. Snow said "In addition to controlling blood sugar levels, people with diabetes may be surprised to know that they must also be vigilant about controlling their blood pressure and cholesterol levels."

The numbers of people with type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly in the United States. An estimated 18.2 million Americans, or about six percent of the population, have type 2 diabetes, and an additional 1.3 million people aged 20 or older are diagnosed with the disease each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Some call this increase an epidemic.

The new ACP guidelines are targeted at both patients and primary care physicians. For patients, ACP is issuing a video news release to alert

Contact: Susan Anderson
American College of Physicians

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