Diabetes affects about 8.3 percent of the U.S. population, but it is not the increased blood sugar levels that kill the majority of diabetics - it's heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, and researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center are looking for ways to reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular conditions in these people to improve their long-term survival.
According to the American Diabetes Association, a total of 25.8 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and diabetics have heart disease or stroke death rates that are about 2 to 4 times higher than those of adults without diabetes.
Joseph Hill and colleagues conducted research on mice that they believe may indicate a therapeutic approach that reduces the prevalence of cardiovascular conditions in diabetics. By activating certain proteins in the hearts of mice with a condition that models type 2 diabetes, they found that the risk of diabetic cardiomyopathy, a common type of diabetes-associated heart disease, increased. By taking these proteins out of the mice hearts, the risk of this condition was reduced.