The need for tighter control of cardiovascular risk factors in diabetic patients

J Hypertens Suppl. 2003 Mar;21(1):S3-6.


Diabetic patients have a two- to four-fold increase in macrovascular disease compared with non-diabetic subjects, with coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke being the most common causes of death in type 2 diabetes. Diabetic nephropathy has become the most common single cause of end-stage renal disease in industrialized countries. Risk factors, including hyperglycaemia, high blood lipids and high blood pressure (BP), often co-exist in diabetic subjects. One recent metaanalysis, including more than 90,000 patients with a 12.4-year follow-up, has demonstrated a continuous increase in the relative risks of morbidity and mortality with increasing blood glucose concentration. Both the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) and the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) have confirmed in diabetes the close relationship between total cholesterol levels and elevated risk of cardiovascular events. For every 1 mmol/l increase in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in type 2 diabetes, the relative risk of CHD increases by 1.57. Furthermore, about 40% of newly diagnosed diabetic patients are also hypertensive. Elevated BP is related to the presence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and, indeed, LVH is observed in more than 70% of diabetic patients with hypertension. Several studies in diabetes have proven treatment benefits when different risk factors are addressed. The need for tighter control of cardiovascular risk factors in diabetic patients is clear. This may include better control of raised BP, hyperlipidaemia and hyperglycaemia as well as closer monitoring for the appearance of LVH and microalbuminuria. There is a clear need to translate the results of clinical trials into everyday clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hyperglycemia / mortality
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Risk Factors