Patients with type 2 diabetes who adhered to a healthy lifestyle had decreased risk for CVD and CVD mortality, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Men and women with diabetes
Gang Liu, PhD, research fellow in the department of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues assessed data from 8,970 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (mean age, 63 years) and 2,557 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (mean age, 63 years) with incident diabetes. Patients were excluded if they had CVD, diabetes or cancer at baseline, were diagnosed with CVD or cancer before a diabetes diagnosis during follow-up or had implausible daily caloric intake. Questionnaires were completed every 2 to 4 years to collect information on lifestyle and dietary factors, disease status and medical history.
Four modifiable lifestyle factors were considered: smoking status, diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption. Researchers calculated a low-risk lifestyle score for each patient, with a higher score signifying a healthier lifestyle.
The primary exposures of interest were changes in lifestyle before and after a diabetes diagnosis and lifestyle factors assessed after a diabetes diagnosis. The outcomes of interest were CVD mortality and CVD incidence.
Patients were followed up for a mean of 13.3 years.
During follow-up, there were 2,311 cases of incident CVD and 858 CVD deaths.
Compared with patients with a low-risk lifestyle factor score of 0, those with a score of 3 or more had a decreased risk for total CVD (HR = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.4-0.59), stroke (HR = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.21-0.51), CHD (HR = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.42-0.66) and CVD mortality (HR = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.22-0.47). Poor adherence to an overall healthy lifestyle was associated with a population-attributable risk for CVD mortality of 40.9% (95% CI, 28.5-52).
Improved lifestyle factors
Each number increment in low-risk lifestyle factors was linked to a 12% decreased risk for CHD, a 14% decreased risk for total CVD and a 27% decreased risk for CVD mortality (P for all < .001).
Results were similar when analyses were stratified by smoking status after diabetes diagnosis, age at diabetes diagnosis, BMI at diabetes diagnosis, number of low-risk lifestyle factors before diabetes diagnosis, sex and diabetes duration.
“Our study has provided further evidence to suggest that adopting an overall healthy lifestyle, consisting of eating a high-quality diet, nonsmoking, engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity and drinking alcohol in moderation, could be an affordable and effective prevention strategy for patients with [type 2 diabetes] to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular complications,” Liu and colleagues wrote.
“As practitioners managing patients with [type 2 diabetes], we need to send a clear message that health care promotion, advocacy and research should continue to focus on these healthy lifestyle factors not only to improve glycemic control, but to reduce overall cardiovascular risk,” Kim Connelly, MBBS, PhD, scientist at Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science at St. Michael’s Hospital at University of Toronto, and colleagues wrote in a related editorial. “As society continues to evolve and becomes increasingly complex, it is important that we do not overlook the so-called simple and fundamental aspects of patient care and always return ‘back to basics.’” – by Darlene Dobkowski
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures. Connelly reports he received research support from and served on the advisory board for AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, Merck, Novartis and Servier. Please see the editorial for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.