Numbers Game: ADA, AHA Partner to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Rates in T2D


Facing a major CVD prevalence in 30 million-plus patients with type 2 diabetes, the national agencies are planning a collaborative initiative that will last years.

William T. Cefalu, MD

William T. Cefalu, MD

In response to a growth of diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevalence equivalent to a national epidemic, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and American Heart Association (AHA) has launched a new multi-year collaboration initiative to combat their conditions of interest.

Along with support from founding sponsors Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly and Company, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, the national agencies are teaming up to reduce the risk of disability and death due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

As the leading cause of death in patients with T2D and among the leading drivers of disability, CVD has become two- to four-fold more prevalent in patients than the general population. The end-result, according to the ADA, is combined conditions that shortens the life expectancy of patients aged 60 or older by an average of 12 years.

As diabetes currently affects at least 30 million Americans — with T2D accounting for at least 90% of all cases — representatives of the collaboration have expressed dire concern to combat its comorbidities. AHA’s Chief Medical Officer for Prevention Eduardo J. Sanchez, MD, MPH, met with MD Mag while attending the 2018 ADA 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, FL. Sanchez discussed the severity of CVD prevalence in the diabetes community, and what next steps are needed.

“You put all of that mix together, and there is a real urgency to getting things done,” Sanchez said. “That’s the urgency side — the good news is that we know what to do. We just need to systematically get those things done.”

Though much clinical development in the fields of CVD symptom management have reached the US market — and some of the headline news at the ADA meeting this year — it’s still not enough. In speaking with MD Mag, ADA chief scientific and medical officer William T. Cefalu, MD said current measures don’t scale the problem.

“When we talk about CVD in diabetes, despite the recent advances we’ve in lipid control, blood glucose control, and blood pressure control, there’s still a difference in cardiovascular mortality in patients with diabetes, versus those without,” Cefalu said.

Cefalu expressed that the long-term objective is to ultimately raise awareness of these rates — not just in patients, but in healthcare providers. According to the ADA, another 7.2 million American adults are living with undiagnosed diabetes, and are at an increased risk for CVD as they age. Informing physicians of telltale signs and preventive T2D measures could go a long way.

As could the information being shared at meetings such as ADA. Cefalu said the partnership will develop over a long time, and hopefully reach a state of clear and direct action.

“It really is a comprehensive program over some years,” Cefalu said.

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