Mended Hearts & Aggressive Risk Factor Reduction for people with Hyperglycemia


Busy day today – I am giving a talk with the local Mended Hearts chapter as part of “Heart Month.”  Mended Hearts is a patient-run organization/ support group for people who have had heart attacks, stents or heart surgery.  It’s a place where people can go for encouragement, education or support after a life-changing cardiac event.  I’ve worked with Mended Hearts in the past, so I was pleased when they invited me to give one of my favorite talks this weekend. (I’ve been giving variations on this talk since 2008).

(Some people might consider it a bit ironic that I am giving a lecture on prevention to a group of people who have already been diagnosed with CAD – but we are also talking about overall wellness/ and preventing future events.)

It’s one of my favorite lectures because it’s an informal style presentation – so I encourage listeners to participate in the discussion – and ask questions.  We also review a case study at the end – where we have a bit of role reversal as I invite listeners to be the NP for a minute and devise treatment strategies for the imaginary patient..  (and my audience usually does a great job – which just proves how powerful a motivated person can be when it comes to healthcare.. If all people were like my audiences, people would be a lot healthier.)   I’ve included a quick summary of my lecture here for interested readers.  (Just the basics – for more specific or detailed information such as information on lipo-proteins, see your doctor.)

Aggressive Risk Factor Reduction 

When talking about healthcare and risk factor reduction, we need to use measurable, and achievable goals.. No ‘nebulous’ statements like ‘improve blood pressure’, or ‘lose weight.’  Instead – we give concrete, and specific goals based on the most relevant and up-to-date clinical evidence.

1.  Hypertension / Blood pressure control – normal B/P is 110/ 70.   National guidelines for diabetics recommends systolic blood pressure less than 130, and a diastolic b/p less than 90.

2.  Hyperlipidemia/ dyslipidemia

LDL cholesterol less than 70

HDL greater than 50

– statin therapy recommended for all diabetics.
3.  Microaluminuriasmall protein particles found in urine.  This is an early indicator of on-going kidney damage.   All diabetics should be on an ace-inhibitor (the ‘prils’ such as lisinopril, fosinopril, enalapril).

These medications will help SLOW the damage, but the best treatment is TIGHT glucose control.

4.  Hyperglycemia – (not diabetes)

Hyperglycemia causes damage.  Period.  This includes so-called ‘pre-diabetes’ and gestational diabetes (see slides for more information.)

– Check your hemoglobin A1c, and control your glucose

– Fasting and post-prandial (2 hours after meals) glucose testing.  Remember that post-prandial readings will rise earlier in the course of the disease, so if you re only testing in the mornings – you might miss crucial information needed for your treatment.

– Currently ONLY metformin and insulin therapies have been shown to have long-term benefits.  (The twenty – plus other medications may make ‘the numbers’ look pretty – but there is little long-term evidence to support their use.

Previously, we skirted around to test ALL of our cardiothoracic patients as part of a screening protocol – new guidelines recommend screening of all hospital patients.

5. Endothelial inflammation – hyperglycemia ‘encourages’ endothelial inflammation and vascular damage (it’s the hallmark of the disease) so the best way to treat this is with anti-platelet therapy such as a baby aspirin (ASA).  Recent literature suggests that ASA may do more harm than good in some people, so check with your doctor..

There’s a lot more information to go over (it’s a 45 minute talk) so I’ve decided to post my lecture slides here for anyone to use, but I do ask that people please give appropriate credit.  Cardiac Complications of Diabetes ppt slides.

More references:

Australian treatment guidelines

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