If you have diabetes, a crop of new medicines may help your heart

People at high risk of heart disease get the most benefit from these costly drugs.

If you're a woman with diabetes, your risk of developing heart disease is four times that of a woman without diabetes. That means protecting your heart health should be a top priority. It starts with adopting heart-healthy lifestyle changes. But if you have a history of heart attack or stroke or are high risk for other reasons, your doctor may suggest a diabetes medication with extra benefits.

Women and their doctors can choose from a crop of new drugs that may reduce diabetes-related heart risks. "Today we're starting to try to customize or personalize an individual's preventive medicine. We take certain subgroups of patients — such as those with a past history of stroke, heart attack, or heart failure — and steer them toward specific drugs based on new data," says Dr. David Nathan, director of the Diabetes Center and Clinical Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »