I’m always so pleased when the conventional medical community switches gears (even for just a moment) and harkens back to the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm.”
Because so frequently, they seem to forget all about it. Especially when it comes to risk factors for diseases. Often times, doctors skip right over discussing preventative strategies and straight to prescribing drugs.
That’s why I was excited to see this new research. Swedish researchers conducted a cohort study showing that heart disease risk associated with type 2 diabetes can be eliminated by reaching targets for five key risk factors. I’ll get to those in a moment.
But first, if you’ve been an avid reader, then you know I’ve spent my whole career talking about risk reduction for diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. In fact, two of my books — The Hampton’s Diet and The A-List Diet — focus on this explicitly. And since they all go hand in hand, working on the risk factors for one health issue can actually work for them all.
The deadly list of risks
The study comes to us from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. It included nearly 300,000 people with type 2 diabetes. The health information for these participants was compared to that of over 1 million healthy people, in order to determine risk factors for diabetes-associated heart disease.
Researchers published their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. They determined that type 2 diabetic participants who were likely to develop heart disease had the following risk factors:
- A hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) greater than 7.0.
- A blood pressure of 140/80 or higher.
- Albuminuria — A condition in which protein albumin is present in urine. Symptoms include swelling of the ankles, hands, belly, and/or face.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol greater than 97 mg/dL.
The more risk factors the diabetic participants had, the higher their likelihood of developing heart disease. Compared to controls, participants with all five risk factors had a higher likelihood of the following:
- Mortality: 4 percent increased risk
- Heart attack: 10 percent increased risk
- Stroke: 27 percent increased risk
- Heart failure: 31 percent increased risk
Diabetic participants with none of the five risk factors had no significant increased risk of mortality, heart attack, or stroke compared to the control group. However, they still had a higher risk of heart failure:
- Participants younger than 55 had a 5 percent increased risk of heart failure
- Participants aged 65 to 80 had a 2.38 percent increased risk of heart failure
How reaching your target pays off
Study patients who improved their risk factors (like improving blood pressure, HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, and quitting smoking) came close to eliminating their excess risks for all-cause death, heart attack, and stroke compared to the general population.
That’s right — by simply getting these five risk factors under control, you can virtually eliminate your risk of having a heart attack.
So why aren’t more people jumping on this bandwagon?
The answer might lie in this one small aspect of the study: Aside from the 5 risk factors listed above, the strongest predictors of death among those with type 2 diabetes were physical activity, marital status, and use of statins.
How funny they should bury the lead! Let me spell that out for you: Type 2 diabetics on statins had an increased risk of death. Notice how they tried to sneak that one by?
In an accompanying editorial to the study, the author states: “Pathways to risk-factor variables… often involve issues of lifestyle, adherence to medication, and other behaviors that are hard to modify, despite best attempts. For vulnerable populations, risk factor control may be especially challenging…”
So in effect, they’re saying if it’s hard, we shouldn’t do it? That’s coming straight from our powers that be, folks!
But there is another way, and it’s not as hard as you think. It simply involves making better choices on a consistent basis.
Look at it this way: Heart attack or a bagel? Stroke or a muffin? Diabetes or an ice cream cone?
The answers to those questions are pretty clear to me.
But I know it can be easier said than done. Which is why, in addition to my books, I’ve also developed an entire program centered around drug-free prevention and reversal of type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome. It’s called the Metabolic Repair Protocol. It’s an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide that will get you on the path to a life free of diabetes. Click here to learn more, or get started today.