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Intensive glycemic control and the prevention of cardiovascular events - implications of the ACCORD, ADVANCE, and VA diabetes trials
Diabetes is defined by its association with hyperglycemia-specific microvascular complications; however, it also imparts a two- to fourfold risk of cardiovascular disease. Although microvascular complications can lead to significant morbidity and premature mortality, by far the greatest cause of death in people with diabetes is CVD.
Because of ongoing uncertainty regarding whether intensive glycemic control can reduce the increased risk of CVD in people with type 2 diabetes, several large long-term trials were launched in the past decade to compare the effects of intensive versus standard glycemic control on CVD outcomes in relatively high-risk participants with established type 2 diabetes. In 2008, two of these trials, ADVANCE and VADT, were completed and showed no significant reduction in cardiovascular outcomes with intensive glycemic control. A third trial, ACCORD, terminated its glycemic control study early due to the finding of increased mortality in participants randomized to a strategy of very intensive glycemic control with a target A1C of <6%. The findings of these three major trials led the ADA, with representatives of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC), to reexamine the recommendations for glycemic targets in patients with diabetes, the majority of whom have type 2 diabetes.
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ Comprehensive Diabetes Management Algorithm 2013
This new algorithm for the comprehensive manage- ment of persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been developed to provide clinicians with a practical guide that considers the whole patient, the spectrum of risks and complications for the patient, and evidence-based approaches to treatment. In addition to advocating for gly- cemic control so as to reduce microvascular complications, this document focuses on obesity and prediabetes as the underlying risk factors for diabetes and associated macro- vascular complications.
Diabetes mellitus is a complex, chronic illness requiring continuous medical care with multifactorial risk reduction strategies beyond glycemic control. Ongoing patient self-management education and support are critical to preventing acute complications and reducing the risk of long-term complications. Significant evidence exists that supports a range of interventions to improve diabetes outcomes.
The Standards of Care recommendations are not intended to preclude clinical judgment and must be applied in the context of excellent clinical care and with adjustments for individual preferences, comorbidities, and other patient factors.