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Statins for all diabetics

11th January 2008

UK-based scientists say that people with diabetes should receive cholesterol-busting drugs regardless of whether they have signs of heart disease.

The team of researchers at Oxford University reviewed studies of more than 90,000 people, including 19,000 with diabetes, and found that many more would benefit from statins than was previously thought.

Analysis of 14 trials has revealed that statins cut the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in diabetic people even in those with low cholesterol levels.

With 2.5 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes, and many more who do not realise they have the condition, the research team suggested that statins are at present underused in people with diabetes.

Oxford University researchers found that standard daily treatment with statins would prevent about one third of heart attacks and strokes in people with diabetes and those benefits were seen regardless of age, sex and whether patients were already showing signs of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Colin Baigent, who led the study, said there had been some debate about whether statins would have the same benefits in people with diabetes as those with heart disease in general.

But he added: “People with diabetes are a clearly defined group of people at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. What we’re saying is statins are clearly effective in every type of person with diabetes.?

Diabetes UK estimates 60% of all diabetics currently receive statins.

However, chief executive Douglas Smallwood said his charity recommended that good diabetes management should not only rely on medication, but also on a healthy lifestyle and diet.

 

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