Purpose of review: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and modifying cardiovascular risk through lifestyle intervention and pharmacologic therapy is paramount. This review focuses on recent advances in treatment of classical (traditional) cardiovascular risk factors and highlights the impact of novel risk factors, including sleep disorders, socioeconomic status and chronic psychological stress on CVD in T2DM.
Recent findings: Obesity is a substantial cardiovascular risk factor, and recently, large trials of lifestyle and surgical (e.g. gastric bypass) interventions impact on CVD in overweight and obese patients have been reported. Lifestyle intervention including low calorie diet and exercise reduced individual cardiovascular risk factors but did not decrease the rate of long-term cardiovascular events. Bariatric surgery was beneficial in reducing cardiovascular risk factors and long-term cardiovascular events. Sleep insufficiency, poor sleep quality and obstructive sleep apnoea lead to higher CVD and further research is needed to characterize the benefit of treating sleep disorders on long-term cardiovascular events in T2DM. Lastly, socioeconomic status and chronic psychological stress independently have a major impact on increasing CVD in T2DM, and public health policies to reduce this burden will be important to address over the coming decade.
Summary: CVD in T2DM is multifactorial and requires a multifaceted approach in reducing known cardiovascular risks at the individual patient level through lifestyle, pharmacotherapy and surgical interventions and at the societal level through public health policies that support reduction in classical and novel cardiovascular risk factors.