In a recent study by cardiologist, Salim Varani, MD at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, Dr. Varani found that although multiple studies have shown that individuals with diabetes lower their risk for heart disease and stroke many individuals with diabetes are not prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins.
An analysis of 204 cardiology practices across the United States showed that 38 percent of individuals with diabetes have not been prescribed a statin. The American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association recommend that anyone aged 40 years of age and older should be prescribed a cholesterol-lowering statin.
Researchers analyzed records of 215,193 patients with diabetes with no diagnosed heart disease who had seen a cardiologist between May 2008 and October 2013. Patients were between the ages of 40 -75 years of age. Only about 62 percent were prescribed a statin. Those that were prescribed a statin were more likely to have risk factors, they were also more likely to receive a non-statin cholesterol-lowering therapy and had LDL levels at 90 mg/dl vs 103 mg/dl. Five thousand seven hundred and twenty-two patients were removed from the study due to documentation of statin intolerance.
The good news is statin use is increasing, but still has a long way to go. If you have diabetes and are not taking a statin to prevent heart disease and stroke, be sure to have a discussion with your health care provider. For individuals with diabetes, statin therapy is effective and preventive. Multiple research studies document the value of statin therapy for individuals with diabetes.
Published in the Diabetes Wellness Newsletter - November 2016 issue