The surprising link between type 2 diabetes and heart failure

An amazing new diabetes drug reduces blood sugar and helps ward off the risk of cardiovascular disease, but will it help the 23.6 million people currently suffering from diabetes in the U.S.?

Diabetes patients often suffer higher rates of cardiovascular disease, and doctors were giving up hope that they would find a medication that works to address both of these issues. According to a report from the LA Times, however, they may have found the most promising lead yet.

A new study has identified a drug that reduces the odds of a type 2 diabetes patient suffering a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular failure. When compared against a placebo group in a clinical trial, patients who received Jardiance were 38 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular failure, stroke, or a heart attack over a three-year timeframe.

Jardiance cut down on hospitalizations due to cardiovascular failure by 35 percent as well. The results of the clinical trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shocked doctors looking for a connection between diabetes and heart disease.

Trials of four other major diabetes drugs have proven effective at improving metabolic function in patients, but none of them were able to address the risk of cardiovascular disease. In some cases, medications even increased the risk of a heart attack or a stroke.

Jardiance, which is generically known as empagliflozin, helps eliminate blood sugar in patients’ urine. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for U.S. markets last year, and ongoing trials aim to determine if similar medications Farxiga and Invokana have the same health benefits.

The drug isn’t cheap, however – it costs about $350 per month. The UK’s National Health Service has already declined to pay for the medication, citing its price as the main deterrent.

Still, the drug could help make a dent in cardiovascular deaths caused by diabetes. In the U.S., 23.6 million people currently suffer from diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are five to eight times more likely to suffer a heart attack or cardiovascular disease. Healthcare officials need all the help they can get in addressing this nationwide epidemic.

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