BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). The growing epidemic of T2DM has contributed to CVD becoming the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States.
OBJECTIVE: To review the pathophysiology of CVD; to demonstrate the interrelatedness of CVD, the metabolic syndrome, and T2DM; and to discuss treatment options that may reduce the risk of CVD in patients with T2DM.
SUMMARY: Recent data from the International Diabetes Federation show that the worldwide prevalence of T2DM is much higher than previously estimated. Managing patients with T2DM continues to severely burden the U.S. health care system. Furthermore, most costs associated with managing these patients are associated with treating CVD complications. Studies have shown that several agents can decrease the risk of CVD in patients with T2DM.
CONCLUSIONS: To combat the diabetes epidemic, clinicians should treat patients with T2DM and prediabetes early and aggressively to control their metabolic disturbances and reduce the risk of CVD. Diet, exercise, and several pharmacologic agents have been shown to reduce the risk of CVD.