Glycemia and cardiovascular risk: challenging evidence based medicine

Hippokratia 2011; 15 (3): 199-204

K. Kitsios, A. Tsapas, P. Karagianni


Optimal glycemic control is well known to reduce effectively the risk of micro vascular complications both in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However the role of glycemic control in decreasing the risk of myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke, the leading causes of death in patients with diabetes, has been so far controversial. In this review, based on data recently reported from large interventional studies, we discuss the possible causal relationship between glycemia and cardiovascular outcomes in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Strict glycemic control right from the diagnosis of the disease may be effective in reducing long term incidence of cardiovascular (CV) disease in both T1 and T2 diabetics. Nevertheless such a strategy could be potentially harmful for T2 diabetics with long duration of sub optimal glycemic control and already established CV complications. Treatment targets in these patients should be individualized taking into account other aspects of glycemic control and diabetes complications such as hypoglycemia and autonomic neuropathy.