Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Recent cardiovascular (CV) outcomes trials have shown CV benefits for several GLP-1 receptor agonists and SGLT2 inhibitors. We aimed to evaluate T2D patients’ awareness, perceptions, and behaviors regarding CVD and cardioprotective T2D drugs.
An online survey was completed by 927 T2D patients of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds from an opted-in patient research panel in the U.S. Median respondent age was 64 and median duration of diabetes was 15 years. Half were taking a GLP-1 or SGLT2, a statistically robust sample of patients on these therapies. Questions covered perceptions of CVD disease; awareness of and interest in diabetes drugs that reduce CVD risk; knowledge of their own health metrics; physicians seen and frequency of discussions about CVD; self-assigned ‘grades’ on lifestyle behaviors known to reduce CVD risk.
Most patients recognized the link between T2D and CVD: 61% strongly agreed that T2D increases CVD risk. Yet, only 29% think often about their risk of CVD. Awareness of CV benefits from some T2D therapies was also low (34% overall; 42% for those on SGLT2 or GLP-1). Interest in taking an additional cardioprotective diabetes agent aligned with awareness (37% overall; 42% for those on SGLT2 or GLP-1). While almost all knew their HbA1c and blood pressure, over 25% did not know their LDL cholesterol or other lipid levels. In the prior year, 31% of patients had seen a cardiologist and 17% had discussed CVD risk with an endocrinologist. Respondents generally ranked themselves ‘average’ to ‘below average’ on heart-healthy behaviors like exercise, weight, sleep, diet, and stress management.
Although a majority of T2D patients are aware of the link between T2D and CVD, most are not actively managing their CV health, and few know that some T2D therapies are cardioprotective. These data suggest a need to better inform T2D patients about their risk for CVD, and steps they can take to reduce that risk.
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