Diabetes & vascular disease research

Postprandial hyperglycaemia and vascular damage--the benefits of acarbose.

PMID 17058626


Traditional risk factors do not fully explain the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in diabetes. Epidemiology shows that hyperglycaemia is a continuous CVD risk factor and that two-hour postprandial glucose levels are more strongly associated with CVD than fasting glucose. Good glycaemic control is proven to reduce the risk of microvascular complications, but equivalent evidence for CVD risk reduction is lacking. However, in the Study to Prevent Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (STOP-NIDDM), acarbose reduced the risk of diabetes in those with impaired glucose tolerance by 36% (p=0.0017) and the risk of any cardiovascular event by 49% (p=0.0326) versus placebo. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of trials of acarbose in patients with type 2 diabetes suggests a significant reduction of CVD events. This review examines evidence that postprandial hyperglycaemia plays a major role in vascular damage, particularly through non-traditional risk factors such as oxidative stress and subclinical inflammation, and how acarbose may prevent this damage.