Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality among people with diabetes mellitus, accounting for 70% of all deaths. As the prevalence of diabetes increases significantly worldwide, greater attention must be focused on preventing cardiovascular events in this group. One contributor to this increased event rate is the characteristic pattern of dyslipidemia in diabetic patients, consisting of elevated serum triglyceride levels, decreased high-density lipoprotein levels, and an increased proportion of small, dense, low-density lipoproteins. Several pharmacologic agents have been used to treat this dyslipidemia including HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, fibric acid derivatives, niacin (nicotinic acid), thiazolidinediones, and fish oils, as well as other non-pharmacologic measures. Currently, the most extensive data for a reduction in cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes exist for HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. The results of these trials indicate that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor therapy should be considered for all patients with diabetes at sufficient risk for cardiovascular events, regardless of serum low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol level. Several ongoing trials of various pharmacologic agents should help clarify the role of these agents alone and in combination with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors in the management of diabetic dyslipidemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pharmacology (medical)