Contrary to popular belief, having Type II diabetes isn’t an automatic, mandatory sentence for getting heart disease too. Many patients remain completely free of heart disease even after they have diabetes for many years. In fact, according to a new case-control study, two key factors keep patients safe from developing coronary artery heart disease more than 10 years after developing Type II diabetes.
For this study, the researchers recruited 76 patients with Type II diabetes. The patients had been treated for more than 10 years and were undergoing angiograms to detect possible coronary artery disease.
The researchers also took the patients’ clinical history, recorded their anthropometric body measurements, analyzed biochemical parameters, and assessed insulin resistance. They also performed multiple analyses to determine the factors most strongly associated with the absence of heart disease.
Two factors linked to heart disease in diabetics
Turns out, the Type II diabetes patients who remained free from heart disease possessed two key characteristics…
First, their insulin resistance (IR) factor was less than 2.5.
Second, their level of albumin in the urine (microalbuminuria) was less than 20 mg/l. Albumin (protein) in the urine is a sign of diabetic kidney damage. So by that measure, absence of kidney damage meant absence of heart disease.
By contrast, blood lipids (cholesterol) had zero effect on the development of heart disease. So — this study presents further evidence that, contrary to popular myth, cholesterol isn’t the main culprit for heart disease, even in diabetics.
Furthermore, the researchers learned that BMI, waist size, hip size, and waist-to-hip ratios did not affect the patients’ risk of developing heart disease.
Of course, as I told you last month, recent research shows that BMI is a flawed measure of excess weight or health anyway. Furthermore, extra body weight is not the universal and inevitable cause of chronic diseases that some experts make it out to be.
Perhaps the most surprising finding from this study is that the differences in fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C were not significant in predicting heart disease. Of course, these patients were already being treated for Type II diabetes for at least 10 years. So common sense tells us these patients didn’t have uncontrolled diabetes. Rather, they probably kept their blood sugar levels down through medical intervention. And the study shows, below that controlled level, there was no difference in the development of heart disease.
Finally, women tended to develop less heart disease than men in the study. And we have known gender plays a role in the development of heart disease for many years from many other studies.
You can’t do much about changing your sex (with apologies to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner). But you can make sure to keep your blood sugar levels under control by cutting out sugars, cutting back on carbs, and engaging in regular moderate physical activity.
The one and only Type II diabetes drug I recommend
When it comes to drugs for blood sugar control, I recommend metformin. It’s a safe, effective and affordable prescription drug to lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C, the long-term measure of blood sugar.
Metformin also lowers the risks of other chronic diseases — including the difficult-to-treat pancreatic cancer. It’s also the only drug treatment for Type II diabetes that also reduces the long-term complications of the disease in the eyes, heart, kidneys, and peripheral nerves. None of this information about metformin surprises me as it derives from an ancient European folk remedy called French lilac.
If you have Type II diabetes, your doctor should also monitor your insulin resistance, kidney function, and albumin with regular urine and blood tests.
With some careful monitoring and close control of your condition, you can stay completely free of heart disease, even after many years of living with Type II diabetes.
For more natural ways to keep your heart healthy and disease-free without potentially dangerous drugs, see my special report The Insider’s Guide to a Heart-Healthy and Statin-Free Life.
- “Factors associated with no apparent coronary artery disease in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus for more than 10 years of duration: a case control study,” Cardiovasc Diabetol 2015; 14(146)