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Medtronic Sponsors American Diabetes Association Educational Campaign "Make the Link" for 2nd Year
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November 14, 2014 -- Today is World Diabetes Day, an event created almost a quarter of a century ago by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization. It's held every year on November 14, the birth date of Noble Laureate Sir Frederick Grant Banting, the first person to use insulin in humans.

The concept is to raise awareness of type 2 diabetes, its prevention, treatment and implications. The theme for the next two years is "Healthy Living and Diabetes," emphasizing diet and lifestyle as prevention for type 2 diabetes.

In the United States, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has expanded this awareness campaign, dubbing the entire month of November, "American Diabetes Month."

Unfortunately over this past quarter century diabetes has become a worldwide epidemic. The ADA states that "nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes." The costs of this epidemic? Over $245 billion.

Diabetes and Heart Disease
A strong connection exists between diabetes and coronary artery disease. Not only do heart attacks strike those with diabetes at an earlier age, diabetics are at significant increased risk for both stroke and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among diabetics.

To help educate people about this connection with heart disease, and provide materials to help with prevention, as well as treatment, Medtronic has announced that it is continuing its sponsorship of the American Diabetes Association’s Make the Link! Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke initiative for a second year. The "Make the Link" website has a series of downloadable information packets to help educate people about diabetes and coronary artery disease (CAD).

The emphasis is on prevention because even though medications and procedures like angioplasty and stents can be used to treat coronary artery disease, they are not cures. Medtronic estimates that almost a third of all coronary stents implanted in the U.S. in 2011 were in diabetic patients. And until relatively recently, treatments like angioplasty and stents were not as effective for diabetic patients: restenosis rates were always higher for this patient subset.

The newest generation of drug-eluting stents has closed this gap to some extent; for example, two years ago, the FDA approved Medtronic's Resolute Integrity stent for use in diabetic patients, based on data from a broad range of studies and clinical trials. In fact, no difference in outcomes were seen between non-diabetics and diabetics who were not insulin-dependent.

Diabetes is avoidable to a large extent by adoption of a healthier lifestyle, so the most important "treatment" is prevention.

For more information, visit Make the Link! Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke.

Reported by Burt Cohen, November 14, 2014