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October 13th, 2009
Diabetes Sufferers can now Reduce Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke, Easily.

There is a new, simple way for people who suffer from diabetes or heart disease to lessen their risk for heart attack or stroke by 60%. A new study has found that by taking cheap prescription drugs to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and a daily aspirin, chances of hospitalization decreased.

“If you have diabetes or heart disease, the biggest killer is likely to be a heart attack or stroke,” says study researcher Robert James Dudl, MD, the director of the diabetes program at the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute in Oakland, Calif.

Knowledge of these drugs taken individually and reducing the chance of strokes and heart attacks has been widely known. However, combining the drugs and documenting their resulting effectiveness has never been studied.

Researchers took a simplified approach wherein 170,000 members of the Kaiser Permanente health plan in California with heart disease or diabetes were tested. Each subject was given a standard dose of the statin and blood-pressure-lowering medication.

Patients were asked to take a daily aspirin as well as prescription Lovastatin (40 mgs a day) to lower cholesterol and Lisinopril (20 mgs a day) to lower blood pressure.
“People who picked up the medicine more than half the time had more than a 60% reduction in heart attack and stroke in the third year of follow-up,” says Marc Jaffe, MD, director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program.

A group of 21,292 people who avidly took the medicine every day and were considered in the “high-exposure” group had 545 fewer heart attacks and strokes. The focus of the study was less on adjusting doses, says Jaffe and Dudl, which saves time and lessens the number of doctor visits. The dose was adjusted whenever necessary.
Dudl says that “the simplicity [of the approach] makes it easier for people to deal with,” Normally, patients always start the drugs at a low dose and must go back to the doctors in three of four weeks for monitoring.

The research reveals that frequent doctor’s office visits or blood tests are not necessary. It’s good for patients who have busy lives and don’t want to be constantly worrying about their next visit to the doctor.

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