Sulfonylureas - oral diabetes drugs - are associated with heart failure and death risks


Individuals with Type II diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to die of heart disease, and also 2-4 times more likely to have a stroke. Heart disease and stroke together account for 84% of diabetes-related deaths.1

Type II, or insulin-resistant, diabetes may be treated with a number of different drugs. The class of drugs called sulfonylureas work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin. Sulfonylureas are used either alone or in conjunction with other diabetic medications.

Studies have found that certain diabetes drugs may carry increased cardiovascular risks compared to others. A study of over 90,000 type 2 diabetics compared the cardiovascular effects in individuals treated with either metformin or sulfonylureas. These researchers found an increased likelihood of death from any cause in the patients treated with sulfonylureas (24-61% increased risk depending on the specific drug), and also an increased risk of congestive heart failure (18-30%).2

These results strengthen the similar findings a 2006 study and an earlier 2009 study3 comparing mortality risk between patients treated with metformin and sulfonylureas, confirming sulfonylureas should be avoided if possible..

The reason why doctors have to rely on all these dangerous medications is because they do not address the problem straight on.  Diabetes is primarily a disease of dietary ignorance and lack of physical fitness.

Simply controlling blood glucose with medications does not remove the causes of type 2 diabetes – physical inactivity and excess weight from a calorie-rich, nutrient-poor diet. Excess body fat blocks insulin function and forces the pancreas to overproduce insulin. Over time, the overworked pancreas “poops out.”  Giving drugs to force the already overworked pancreas to work even harder only makes the insulin-producing cells die off faster.  If you are still eating the same disease-causing diet you will likely gain even more weight, obtain other cardiovascular risk factors, and possibly become insulin dependent. 

The best way for Type II diabetics to protect themselves from cardiovascular complications is to become non-diabetic – to slowly reduce their dependence on diabetes drugs. Exercise and nutritional excellence (which will inevitably result in weight loss) can achieve this goal in 90% of patients.

Diabetes is caused by poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, and it can be reversed with nutritional excellence and exercise. If you have Type II diabetes or know someone who does, don’t just treat your diabetes or control your diabetes, join the hundreds who have recovered and gotten rid of it! 




2. Tzoulaki I et al. Risk of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality among patients with type 2 diabetes prescribed oral antidiabetes drugs: retrospective cohort study using UK general practice research database. BMJ. 2009 Dec 3;339:b4731. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4731.

3. Pantalone KM et al. The risk of developing coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure, and overall mortality, in type 2 diabetic patients receiving rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, metformin, or sulfonylureas: a retrospective analysis. Acta Diabetol. 2009 Jun;46(2):145-54. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


U.S. Blacks Have High Heart Failure Risk

New findings in the New England Journal of Medicine reveal young and middle-aged African-Americans living in the United States are 20 times more likely to suffer heart failure. Data reported average age of heart failure onset among blacks was 39, with hypertension, obesity, and kidney problems also seen earlier in blacks. The research also associates young people not getting their blood pressure checked, lack of health insurance and not taking medications as other risk factors; Reuters investigates.

Not matter what color you are. Diet is a major contributing factor to heart failure. In December, a study showed eating eggs and diary can raise heart failure risk up to 23% and people with 7 pounds of abdominal fat, i.e. chub, are 11% more likely to have a heart failure, but a diet rich in fruits and vegetables naturally lowers LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In related news, black and Hispanic children were found to have less type-1 diabetes than white kids, with Caucasian children posting the highest rate, but a recent report revealed African-Americans living in poorer communities have limited access to healthy foods.

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More Americans Have Multiple Chronic Conditions

A new study in Health Affairs claims more Americans have multiple chronic illnesses than ever before. The percentage of people with 3 or more chronic illnesses rose from 13% in 1996 to 22% in 2005 for ages 45 to 64. It increased 45% for ages 65 to 79, jumped 54% for individuals older than 80 and among all ages, figures went up 6% from 1996. And data reveals the number of Americans with 1 chronic condition, like cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart failure, was 41% in 1996 but rose to 44% in 2005. Obesity and inactivity are being blamed; Reuters reports.

And these maladies are hitting us in the wallet too. On average, obesity and it’s sequelae cost the United States more than $100 billion a year and physicians and hospitals usually fail to make a long term impact on the health of their patients, which is evident when you consider a recent report revealing 24 million Americans have type-2 diabetes, a risk factor for many chronic diseases, up 3 million since 2005.

Heart Failure: Eggs Bad, Whole-Grains Better

Recent studies have shown egg consumption is linked to diabetes risk and risk of death. And now, new research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveals each serving of dairy or eggs increases heart failure risk by 8% to 23%. Conversely, each serving of whole grains dropped heart risk by 7% in middle-aged men and women. Both results account for other factors that might impact heart failure risk, such as calorie intake, lifestyle, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension; Reuters reports.

Now, don’t go grain crazy! Grains are okay, but Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating more fruits and vegetables instead. Grains aren’t as nutrient-dense. And fruits and veggies are the ultimate heart-protectors, capable of preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease.

The Chinese, whose classic diet involved a lot of fruits and vegetables, have departed from their traditional ways and subsequently suffer from more heart disease and obesity as they consume more eggs, meat and fat, and less plant foods.

Belly Fat Linked to Heart Failure

A new study in Circulation has determined even a tiny bit of belly fat increases heart risk. Researchers examined 21,094 male doctors. And their findings revealed that in men, 5 feet 10 inches tall, for every 7 pounds of extra body weight, the risk of heart failure increased by 11%. Conversely, the leanest, and most active group, had the lowest risk; Reuters investigates.

Very ironic that they used doctors for the experiment, because a recent report revealed 79% of doctors don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. Might help explain the results!