Longtime type 2 diabetics who undergo “lifestyle intervention” and lose weight do not reduce their heart attack and stroke risk, suggests a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health.
The study focused on whether an intensive diet and exercise program resulting in weight loss would reduce the rates of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular-related deaths in overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes. This demographic is already at greater risk for these conditions.
For the study, researchers worked with more than 5,000 people. Half of the participants engaged in an intensive diet and exercise program while the other half were enrolled in a general program of diabetes support and education.
While the group that underwent a lifestyle intervention to lose weight did not see a reduction in cardiovascular events, they did experience health benefits such as decreased sleep apnea, better physical mobility, and a reduction in diabetes medication.
Most type 2 diabetics rely on medication to keep their blood sugar levels in check. These medications are designed to improve the health of diabetics, however some medications have dangerous side effects. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed severe restrictions on the type 2 diabetes medication Avandia after studies linked the drug to fatal heart attacks. A year later, the agency warned that the type 2 diabetes drug Actos had been tied to reports of bladder cancer.