Diabetes and Heart Disease

Understand the Connection

Drug Therapy


In addition to making healthier lifestyle choices every day, medications also can help manage diabetes. Your health care provider may recommend one or a combination of medications that are used to help lower:

  • Blood sugar levels and keep them within a target range
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • The risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke
  • Other cardiovascular risk factors


New Medications

Three diabetes medications that lower blood sugar levels — empagliflozin, liraglutide and and canagliflozin — were recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help reduce cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes and heart disease or at high risk for CV disease. In some cases, these medicines also have helped lower related deaths in these patients. But mounting data suggest these medicines may be protective even among those without heart disease.

Talk with your health care provider to find out whether you might benefit from these therapies.

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Published: July 2018
Medical Reviewers: John Bucheit, PharmD, BCACP, CDE; Deborah Croy, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, AACC
CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief: Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FASPC

Infographic: Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk

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