Drugs for diabetes may protect against heart disease

Some medicines for diabetes may protect against heart disease. A new study, EMPA-HEART Cardiolink-6 Trial, has shown how a few drugs to control blood sugar levels can also lower the risk of heart disease. The journal Cell Metabolism has published the results of this study.

Related: Aspirin no longer recommended for lowering risk of heart disease

SGLT2 inhibitors and the risk of heart disease

In this study, the research team has assessed the effect of empagliflozin on heart health. It is a medicine that falls under the class of drugs – SGLT2 inhibitors. So, it plays a role in decreasing BGLs. Where diet and exercise work side by side this drug to treat diabetes type 2.

In diabetes, blood sugar levels of a person get too high. And he may need insulin or any other drug to control high blood sugar levels. The team has found that the use of empagliflozin in diabetic persons can also protect against heart disease.

This drug can affect cell repair in the blood vessels. And, as a result, it can lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease. The results of the study suggest that this drug used to treat diabetes can also regulate circulating progenitor cells along with the inflammatory cells.

Where the former ones are the cells found in the bone marrow of a person. And they play a vital role in heart health. In people who have diabetes and a high risk of heart disease, this medicine can prevent heart disease.

It can do so by reducing the number of damaged cells, that can otherwise worsen the heart’s health by causing faulty repair of the blood vessels. In the past, many large-scale clinical trials have proved that SGLT2 inhibitors can protect a diabetic person from heart disease. But up till now, the reason for this effect wasn’t clear.

Empagliflozin can restore progenitor cells and prevent heart diseases

In accordance with the data given by WHO, diabetes has led to about 1.6 million deaths in 2016. Also, it is one of the major causes of kidney failure, blindness, stroke, heart attack, and amputation of the lower limb.

Heart disease is a major issue for patients with diabetes. These people often have a problem with their blood vessel repair. And it makes them more prone to diseases like CVD. In this study, the research team has worked in collaboration with Dr. David Hess.

Dr. Hess is one of the experts to identify and quantify the blood vessel progenitor cells. He has used the blood sample from the EMPA-HEART CardioLink-6 Trial to study these cells. And was able to reveal that there was a decrease in the number of these cells in diabetic people. However, in such people, the use of empagliflozin has restored the progenitor cells.

Inflammation and oxidative stress can also affect heart health and lead to CVDs. The results of the study have found that using this drug can not only benefit progenitor cells but can also reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

This study has given a piece of evidence that how empagliflozin can protect against heart disease along with treating blood glucose levels. For a person with diabetes, this is a valuable step to decrease the risk of many heart diseases. Also, these new results can act as a basis to form new therapies for patients who have their heart health worsened by diabetes.

Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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