Most people believe controlling blood sugar levels is the only concern for people with diabetes. However, doctors at Baylor College of Medicine say there are more health concerns that must be managed to save the life of a diabetic.
"One of the leading causes of death for people with diabetes is cardiovascular disease caused by high blood pressure," said Dr. James Pool, professor of medicine and director of the Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology Research Clinic at BCM. "Diabetes accelerates the cardiovascular disease. Many people think that if you control the diabetes then the other health issues will disappear. However diabetic control does not change the survival of the patient as one would anticipate if you ignore the other cardiovascular disease risks."
Pool said controlling glucose is important to decreasing sensory neuropathy (damage to nerves and vision), but a major way to extend a diabetic's life is to control blood pressure and lipids, plus glucose.
Best way to treat blood pressure
A study is under way that is examining the best way to treat blood pressure in patients with Type 2 diabetes.
By using two different drugs, researchers are targeting the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance in the body. If the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system is too active, blood pressure will be too high. The drugs work by targeting different steps in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
"We are focusing on this system because we already know that inhibiting and controlling the production of renin, which is an enzyme that plays a role in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, helps to preserve kidney function," Pool said. "The amount of renin produced not only maintains kidney function but also helps to regulate blood pressure."
The current study is being done to determine what pathways along the renin-angiotensin system should be targeted to achieve a better outcome for diabetics.
The study is currently accepting participants who are 18 years or older and have a hemoglobin A1c level of less than 9 percent. Participants must also be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
For more details on study criteria, please contact 713-798-2375.