A widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug could help protect people with type 2 diabetes particularly women from heart attack or stroke.
That’s according to a new study by researchers at Sydney University who say treatment with the medication fenofibrate may benefit both women and men who are at risk for cardiovascular disease, such as those with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and ultimately reduce their likelihood of death.
Co-author Tony Keech, a professor of medicine, cardiology and epidemiology at the University of Sydney, and colleagues examined nearly 10,000 adults with type 2 diabetes to determine their cardiovascular and stroke risk. Participants were given the cholesterol-reducing drug fenofibrate and monitored over a period of five years.
The researchers found that among diabetics with a high risk of heart disease and stroke – those with elevated levels of triglycerides and low levels of “good” HDL cholesterol – the medication cut the likelihood of suffering adverse cardiovascular events by 30% in women and 13% in men.
They concluded: “This new study recommends that fenofibrate be considered as a useful way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in both women and men with type 2 diabetes.”
Michael d’Emde, a professor at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and lead author of the study, added: “Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in women, almost three times more common than breast cancer.”
“Its symptoms are sometimes harder to diagnose in women and often the typical chest pain of a heart attack does not occur in people with diabetes. Therefore, better awareness among patients and their GPs is vital. Predominant symptoms include breathlessness, sweating, nausea, fatigue or arm pain.”
The findings were published in the journal Diabetologia.

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