Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Nutrition Debate #233: Multifactorial Approach to Prevent CVD in T2DM

The Nutrition Debate #233: Multifactorial Approach to Prevent CVD in T2DM
Michael Marre, a French physician who heads the diabetes department at a Paris hospital, gave an oral presentation (with transcription) at the recent American Diabetes Association 74th Scientific Sessions in San Francisco. It was shownhere in Medscape Medical News, an aggregator of medical news designed for physicians. His title, “Multifactorial Approach to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease in Type 2 Diabetes,” was subtitled “Identifying Diabetes and Cardiovascular Risks.” The risk part is okay, the multifactorial approach to prevent CVD ho-hum, and the comment section priceless. Here’s my précis.
Dr. Marre’s definitions: “Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder caused by both a defect in insulin secretion and in insulin action. It is an important contributor to vascular damage. Remember that by definition, diabetes induces microvascular complications, and it is also a huge risk factor for macrovascular complications.” You can quibble with “caused by” and argue that it is diabetes that is controlled to the ADA standard of care that induces microvascular complications, but still, his view conforms to the medical establishment’s current standard of care, so you can’t blame him for their dereliction.
To his credit, Dr. Marre states that “you can take some prevention measures, which include lifestyle interventions that can reduce the risk for diabetes by 50%.” He adds, though, “If that is not enough, you can add in some pharmacotherapy…” and then launches into a litany of meds that can possibly “delay or postpone the progression to diabetes mellitus.” His primer continues: “In fact, an individual evaluation must include an assessment of the classic risk factors, the glycemic status, the macrovascular disease, and the microvascular disease:
● The classic risk factors are family history, lifestyle, smoking, hypertension and dyslipidemia (cholesterol issues).
● Macrovascular disease: coronary status, cerebral vascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, and heart failure.
● Microvascular disease: retinopathy, nephropathy, and neuropathy, and
● Don’t forget arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation
Again, to his credit, Dr. Marre states “Cardiovascular risk requires multifactorial management, with an emphasis on lifestyle intervention. Look at what the patient eats and drinks” (emphasis mine). He blithely advocates “a Mediterranean diet from your birth date.” Okay, I’ll admit a Mediterranean diet would be a better choice of what to eat and drink than the Standard American Diet (SAD), but hey, so would almost any healthy way of eating. Let’s just say that Dr. Marre, who says he is “from the Mediterranean area,” is just being chauvinistic. We can forgive him. He is, after all, a Frenchman.
Once again, however, Dr. Marre’s management and control recommendations are pretty much pro forma “establishment”:
● Maintaining blood pressure below 140/85 mm Hg. This is the objective for patients without any renal impairment. If the patient has a slightincrease in microalbuminuria , then the blood pressure objective must be below 130/80 mm.
● Look at the patient’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level, which must be below 1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dL).
● Glycemic control, as assessed by A1c, must be below 7%.
Dr. Marre cautions, “For blood pressure lowering, do not forget to prescribe as first-line therapy a rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone inhibitor. This is mandatory. [I had to look this one up; that’s an ACE inhibitor, like Enalapril. Whew! I take one.]
For lipid control, use a statin for first-line therapy, and prescribe an appropriate dose. [another pill]
Antiplatelet therapy [low-dose aspirin] is recommended for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. [another pill]
Often, you have to combine several antidiabetic agents [yet more pills or injections] to achieve good glycemic control, but as most of our patients are overweight or obese, use metformin as much as possible in first-line therapy.”
Wait a minute! Whatever happened to those lifestyle interventions? To looking “at what the patient eats and drinks”? Here is a doctor giving out the basics of clinical care for overweight or obese type 2 diabetic patient, to avoid the co-morbidities of micro and macrovascular disease, and all he has to offer (except lip service), is a cocktail of pills?
At this writing, there are five comments. The first four were “the usual”; the fifth, most unusual: “This is rubbish and when I open it I am struck by several ads for Victoza I cannot get rid of. What can I expect from a site that is financed by industry? Oh, Eric Topol, how can you possibly work here and look yourself in the mirror every morning.” Signed: Anders Hernborg, Swedish GP. Anders Hernborg is a mostly retired, M.D., Dr. h.c ., “independent researcher” and “activist.” Of the 22 published scientific papers which he has co-authored, one is titled “Advertising or Science?” Being “mostly retired” makes time for research and writing (LOL). For some, telling the truth may also be a quick way to become “mostly retired.”


  1. Par for the course. This is the same story that I have heard since I had stents inserted in 2007. At that time I got the usual set of pills plus a do or die lecture on eating a healthy heart diet of low fat everything. Of course the low fat margin had trans fats or did after you cooked with it. And the low fat salad dressing had extra sugar. Ditto for many of the other low fat products. Then there was natural wholesome popcorn cooked in vegetable oil. No sugars, but plenty of almost pure starch which converts to sugar in the body.

    Then in 2013 I was diagnosed with type II. I blame that prescription, at least in part, on my diabetes. Especially when I read that statins have a known risk of causing type II and one study showed that statins raise BG by an average of 10 mg/dl.

    Now this afternoon I was reading about how low level inflammation may be the root of both diabetes and CVD. So would it not make since to go after the source of the inflammation rather than to try to treat the symptoms?

    1. Great comment! I love to have informed readers almost as much as having neophytes. BTW, I think you meant to say ( or at least I would have said) that your type 2 diabetes was caused by diet , the diet that your doctor prescribed! You will also be interested in a column already written and edited about how eating low-carb lowers systemic inflammation, as measured by hs-CRP. Thanks for reading and commenting.