Patients with new-onset diabetes mellitus in the VALUE (Valsartan Antihypertensive Long-term Use Evaluation) trial had an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation compared with patients without diabetes. Clustering of risk factors or the presence of dysglycemia may make the heart more susceptible to arrhythmias.
Treatment of type 2 diabetes should achieve and maintain euglycemia, thereby preventing complications from this progressive disease. Current antidiabetic therapies should be a part of a multimodal management program that includes diet, exercise, and blood pressure and lipid control. Oral antidiabetic drugs are still first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes, but intensification of therapy, including starting insulin, should occur every 2 to 3 months as needed to achieve euglycemia. The first insulin added is typically a basal insulin, which is effective in lowering fasting plasma glucose (FPG). A persistently elevated glycated hemoglobin (HgbA1C) level despite near or complete normalization of FPG, however, indicates postprandial hyperglycemia. In these cases, the addition of bolus insulin is required to reduce postprandial glucose (PPG). Several approaches to initiate and titrate insulin can be used based on FPG, PPG, HgbA1C, and patient factors.
The relationship of glucose levels to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, especially coronary heart disease (CHD), in observational data sets has been the subject of several studies. These studies have shown that the relationship between fasting (and postprandial glucose) and CHD risk is continuous and graded, and that this relationship extends below the currently defined threshold for diagnosing diabetes mellitus. The assumption has been that glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus should favorably affect CVD outcomes in randomized clinical trials; however, the results of several large trials have not consistently confirmed this hypothesis. In fact, ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes) data suggest a small increased risk in mortality for patients at high risk for CHD events.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 23.6 million children and adults have diabetes (8% of the US population) and another 5.7 million cases remain undiagnosed. Epidemiologists predict that these statistics will double by 2030, further taxing the healthcare system. Medical expenditures are approximately 2.3 times higher for diabetic versus nondiabetic patients, and the annual cost of diabetes is estimated to be $116 billion.