Hypertension in the non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus syndrome: a critical review of therapeutic intervention

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Background:Since it is not yet clear whether and to what degree treatment of mild hypertension will decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM), decisions concerning the treatment of hypertensive diabetics are at present based on data from the non-diabetic population.Recent research on causes of diabetes:A large body of recent work on the sequence of events leading from the prediabetic to the hyperglycemic stages of the NIDDM syndrome has suggested that elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors may precede NIDDM by many years and that after the onset of NIDDM intervention might be too late to be beneficial.Prospective intervention study in progress:It is not possible to draw firm conclusions that can be applied to the treatment of hypertensive diabetics before the results of the United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study/Hypertension in Diabetes Study are published later this decade. Unfortunately, this study does not consider different stages within the NIDDM syndrome. Moreover, World Health Organization criteria are not used for the diagnosis of either NIDDM or hypertension, so that the study subjects are insufficiently characterized. Finally, confounding variables such as racial, ethnic and sex. differences and the individual stage of the NIDDM syndrome (and consequent variation in antidiabetic treatment) have been either not considered or not competely ruled out. These shortcomings seriously threaten the significance of this otherwise important study.Conclusions:As long as there are no diabetes-specific data from adequately sized intervention studies, recommendations for antihypertensive treatment in NIDDM will be based on strategies accepted for the non-diabetic population. These recommendations involve symptom-based diagnostic and therapeutic concepts of both NIDDM and hypertension and ignore recent pathogenetic concepts which could lead to an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to cardiovascular risk management, and possibly to the prevention of end-stage NIDDM syndrome with its advanced macrovascular complications.

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