Diabetes patients need more individualized treatment

Research conducted by the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and the University of Michigan Health System found that too many physicians are utilizing the same cardiovascular treatments for diabetes patients instead of catering to each patient’s unique needs. Diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing heart conditions because of high cholesterol.

“We want patients to get the treatment they need to prevent heart attacks and cardiovascular issues but we don’t want to expose them to additional treatment risks without strong evidence of the benefits,” said study author Eve Kerr, M.D. “We need to move away from a one-size-fits-all performance measure that misses the point of providing appropriate treatment.”

The study revealed that nearly 80 percent of veteran diabetes patients, who were between 50 and 75 years old, had adequate care and were issued the proper amounts of cholesterol drugs known as statins. The research found that younger patients were receiving inappropriate amounts of drug therapies: nearly 14 percent of the patients who were at least 18 years old who did not have heart disease were administered statins.

This excessive treatment can be detrimental to a patient’s health. According to recent guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration, some statins can cause liver damage, memory loss, confusion, increased blood sugar levels and a higher chance of muscle damage when taken with other medications.

Study investigators reported that detailed health records in electronic databases that list a patient’s blood pressure, prescription history and other pertinent information allow physicians to issue the necessary individualized care.

Diabetes management
While healthcare providers play a large role in heart health and diabetes management, a patient can also enact certain lifestyle changes that can benefit his or her condition. The Mayo Clinic recommends that people with diabetes frequently exercise to stimulate insulin responses and help lower glucose levels. While strenuous workouts are beneficial, even doing common household chores can help.

The Mayo Clinic also suggests eating well-balanced meals that have the right amount of fruits, vegetables, starches, proteins and fats. Not only is the choice of food important, but sticking to a schedule and instituting an eating schedule may also help diabetes patients maintain the proper blood sugar levels.

Consuming ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids may also be helpful in controlling diabetes. According to the University of Maryland, omega-3s help reduce triglycerides and apoproteins, and they also raise HDL, or “good cholesterol.” These fatty acids have also been shown to increase cardiovascular wellness by lowering blood pressure. You can get omega-3s from chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp milk and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.