FDA Approves Diabetes Medication for Heart Failure

The FDA approved the diabetes drug dapagliflozin (Farxiga) to treat heart failure in people with or without diabetes.

The unique function of SGLT-2 Inhibitors

This medication belongs to the SGLT-2 Inhibitors class and is referred to as a “glucoretic.” The main action is the release of glucose through the proximal tubules in the kidney. This results in loss of glucose but is also associated with diuresis and reductions in heart failure.

Three of the SGLT-2s (canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin) have been recognized by the FDA to reduce not only blood glucose but also lower risk of CV death, heart failure and preserve long term kidney function. These medications also significantly reduced hospitalization for heart failure in several trials.

Dapagliflozin is the first SGLT-2 to be FDA approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and hospitalization for heart failure in people with or without diabetes.

Currently available SGLT2 Inhibitors

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Heart failure is a life-threatening disease that affects about 64 million people worldwide. Roughly half of those with heart failure suffer from reduced ejection fraction, which dapagliflozin was Farxiga approved to treat. This FDA approval may open the door for other SGLT2 Inhibitors to expand outside of diabetes.

Read more by click AstraZeneca diabetes drug gets U.S. nod to treat heart failure

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Oral Hygiene & Heart Health Link | Mindful Monday

A study done by the department of neurology at Mokdong Hospital at Ewha Womans University College of Medicine in Seoul, South Korea analyzed data from over 160,000 people who had no history of heart failure or atrial fibrillation. Information collected during the study included weight, height, lifestyle questionnaires, lab tests, oral health disease, dental visits in the past year, and oral hygiene behaviors.

All study participants were examined for periodontal disease. Of all participants present, 3% developed atrial fibrillation and 4.9% developed heart failure after a follow up 10.5 years later.

The study found that people who frequently brushed their teeth (3 or more times per day) had a lower risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Getting teeth professionally cleaned also lessened risked of these problems.

More research is needed to see if there is a causal relationship. However, recommending active oral hygiene is always a great idea!

Read more here.

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Lower B/P Target and Earlier Treatment for Diabetes?

People with diabetes who delay getting blood pressure to target may be more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than their counterparts who manage it promptly, a recent study suggests.

A study conducted by Dr. Sridharan Raghavan of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, examined data on over 43,000 participants. Participants were all people with diabetes who started treatment for high blood pressure between 2002 and 2007.

Those who waited until their blood pressure was more elevated before beginning treatment were 10% more likely to have events like fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Raghavan stressed that lowering blood pressure in people with diabetes with hypertension “can mitigate some of the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.” The study indicates that people with diabetes may have improved outcomes with a lower systolic blood pressure target than the ADA target of 140 mmHg. The American Heart Associations and the American College of Cardiology’s guidelines are to start treatment when systolic blood pressure is above 130 mmHg.

Using the lower standard of 130 systolic instead of starting treatment at the higher 140 systolic standard may result in fewer deaths from heart attacks and strokes.

Read the full study here.

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Happy National Heart Month | Mindful Monday

February is National Heart Month! 

This month we want to help our communities lower their risk of heart disease. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart disease and twice as likely to die from heart attack or stroke. However, a recent survey suggest only about half of those living with diabetes are aware of the elevated risk. 

“That’s why the ADA and the AHA, along with industry leaders, have teamed up to form the “Know Diabetes By Heart” initiative. These powerhouse organizations want to raise awareness and understanding of the link between people with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and empower people to reduce their risk for heart disease.”

And we want to help by sharing the incredible resources they have put together for health care professionals. Please enjoy the resources below:

All can be found at KnowDiabetesByHeart

Please refer people with Type 2 diabetes to https://knowdiabetesbyheart.org/ for resources including a quiz to test their knowledge of the link between diabetes and heart disease.

Thank you for helping get the word out! 

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Mindful Monday | “Social Jet Lag” and Risk of Heart Disease

An abundance of research supports getting adequate sleep for adequate growth and overall health. Health risks increase when an individual is sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation increases risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and insulin resistance.

In addition, new research by the academic journal “Sleep,” has shown that,”Social Jet Lag” waking up at different times on the weekends vs. weekdays, may increase the risk of heart disease.

Current research by Duke University Medical Center demonstrated that individuals with what is referred to as “social jet lag” may also have an increased risk of depression and stress than subjects who woke up at the same time consistently. The connection thus far is not clear as some researchers believe that, “poor sleep interferes with the body’s metabolism which can lead to weight gain” which creates a vicious cycle of poor sleep and weight gain. Previous studies have also shown that a varied sleep schedule can lead to the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The authors conclude that further research is needed to determine why individuals who get less sleep are gaining weight and increasing their risk for cardiometabolic conditions.

For more information on “social jet lag” and its effects on cardiometabolic health, visit A regular bedtime may benefit your heart and metabolism”

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“Full-fat dairy may actually benefit heart health”

Full-fat dairy is typically thought of as being detrimental to health due to the high content of saturated fats. However, a new study begins to question this commonly known ideology.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, challenges this popular opinion. The study reveals that whole-fat dairy does not seem to raise cardiovascular risk. Interestingly enough, some of the fats present may actually reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Until recently, governmental organizations such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services have advised people to avoid full-fat dairy in order to steer clear of “bad” cholesterol.

However, after studying the fatty acids contained in full-fat products, “none of the three fatty acids examined correlated with the risk of total mortality. In fact, high circulating levels of heptadecanoic fatty acid were associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease.” In fact, adults with higher levels of fatty acids overall, were 42% less likely to die of stroke.

As consumers we are often fed conflicting opinions about diet, which can make staying knowledgeable about all the options seem overwhelming. However, as diabetes educators, we want to stay aware of the many changes and developments made in the nutrition world and how this new information can benefit our diabetes community. The question now is, should the dietary guidelines be revised?

This research was funded by NIH, read the full article here. “Serial measures of circulating biomarkers of dairy fat and total and cause-specific mortality in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study”

To learn more, enjoy the summary article “Full-fat dairy may actually benefit heart health” by Medical News Today

“Sugary Drinks Could Break Your Heart”

“Sugary Drinks Could Break Your Heart”

Just 2 sugary drinks a week is linked to weight gain, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and stroke. Let’s get the word out and improve the health of our communities.

To learn more, click here to read the entire article.

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The Joy of Six – Sugar Pledge 

To enjoy up to six teaspoons of added sugar and increase sugar awareness in our communities.

We have created this pledge campaign to raise awareness on the health risks of added sugar and more so, the benefits of enjoying less.

By eating less added sugar starting today, we will not suffer from any nutritional deficiency. On the contrary, we will get healthier.

Learn more about The Joy of Six – Sugar Campaign