People with diabetes in the US reduced their risk of heart attacks and stroke if they took part in a new prevention programmen, results show.
The Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes Everyday (or PHASE) programmen, developed by Kaiser Permanente, a leading healthcare provider based in Oakland, California, led to significant improvements in participants, compared with those who did not complete the programme.
Participants of the programme achieved greater control of three cardiovascular risk factors – blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid levels – over a 10-year period.
The programme was set up to offer affordable services in a country where health is largely privatised. It was launched in 2004 and the results of a study, which looked at cardiovascular risk factors of about 100,000 participants, have just been published.
The researchers compared the data with the same biomarkers from people on private health schemes taken from National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS).
The percentage of people with good blood pressure control under the Kaiser Permanente programme was higher, starting in 2007 at 77% and growing to 82% in 2013, compared to a jump from 57% to 62% in the national data.
The percentage of those with poorly-controlled blood glucose levels dropped in both groups between 2004 and 2013, but only the PHASE results were statistically significant, meaning they were not down to chance.
During the same period, the proportion of individuals with diabetes with good lipid control rose from 47% to 71% for the Kaiser Permanente patients, but there was no significant change seen in the national HEDIS reports.
Dr Jamal S. Rana, who is a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center, was the study’s lead author. He said: “Our encouraging findings speak to the strength of the PHASE programme. This study shows that the PHASE programme addresses the daunting challenge of controlling risk factors in a high-risk population consistently and over an extended period of time, by the systematic application of a simple treatment protocol, a comprehensive registry, performance metrics, and task sharing with care managers.”
The PHASE programme works by encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyle and improve their heart health. Participants are selected through a register and assigned a care management team.
The study was published in the American Journal of Medicine.

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