Multi-Specialty Collaboration Key to Managing Treatment of Diabetes Patients
According to the World Health Organization, roughly 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, with deaths from diabetes expected to increase by more than 50 percent in the next decade. In the U.S. alone, and estimated one in three American adults will have diabetes by 2050 unless additional steps are taken to prevent and treat the disease.
“These numbers are alarming, but we can all play a role in the fight against diabetes,” says Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, editor-in-chief of ACC’s CardioSmart. “The first place to start is by educating patients about diabetes and helping them better manage their condition(s). As cardiovascular professionals, in particular, it is our job to ensure our patients understand that diabetes is a leading cause of premature illness and death, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Diabetes significantly increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and cardiovascular death. Over the last several years the ACC has partnered on several efforts to raise awareness about the links between diabetes and heart disease, given the strong association between the two. The College has developed a robust clinical topic collection on ACC.org that features the latest news and expert commentary about diabetes and cardiometabolic disease for the clinician audience. In addition, ACC’s CardioSmart patient portal includes information designed to educate patients about lifestyle choices that can prevent or help mitigate the disease.
The Diabetes Collaborative Registry, a collaboration between the ACC, the American Diabetes Association, American College of Physicians, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the Joslin Diabetes Center, is also seeking to change the way diabetes is understood and treated by bringing together primary care physicians, endocrinologists, cardiologists and other diabetes care providers around the shared goal of improving diabetes care and patient outcomes. “We feel strongly that by uniting primary care physicians, endocrinologists, cardiologists and other diabetes care providers we can make significant improvements in diabetes care and patient outcomes,” says Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC, president of the ACC.
This multi-specialty collaboration is increasingly important as new research is suggesting new ways to treat and manage hyperglycemia associated with diabetes in patients with cardiovascular disease. For example, results from the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial presented this past fall at the 2015 European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, showed that empagliflozin (an SGLT-2 inhibitor) plus standard care lowered the rate of the primary composite outcome of time to the first occurrence of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke, in patients with type 2 diabetes and prevalent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease at trial entry. These results, as well as the results of future trials, will affect future treatment options.
“As we continue to progress into this somewhat unchartered territory of treating and managing hyperglycemia associated with diabetes to impact cardiovascular disease risk, it is imperative that professional organizations continue to consider how results such as those from the EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial, as well as the results of future trials, will affect future treatment guidelines for type 2 diabetes,” said Darren K. McGuire, MD, MHSC, FACC, in an ACC in Touch Blog post. McGuire is a member of the Diabetes Collaborative Registry Steering Committee and a panelist on today’s session focused on “Diabetes in 2016 – Coming to Consensus for Cardiovascular Health.”
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