Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, officially marked World Heart Day in Lebanon, in an effort to raise awareness on the important link between CVDs and type 2 diabetes.
During a press conference, the company launched its nationwide awareness drive, "Are you Diabetic? It's Your Heart...Protect It", by joining forces with the Lebanese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Lipid (LSEDL) as well as the Lebanese Society of Cardiology (LSC) to address patient compliance and adherence to type 2 diabetes treatments and the overall management of CVD implications related to type 2 diabetes.
The campaign will also include a consumer drive, where Beirut by Bike, a progressive bike club founded to promote the concept of biking for a healthy living, will organize a public event on the 29th September that will include healthcare professionals, members of the local media, and the general public.
The panel members at the press conference acknowledged that patient knowledge of CVDs in Lebanon is minimal, and there is an urgent need to work closely with diabetologists and government bodies, to drive better outcomes for the general population, which has a high profile of cardiovascular risk factors.
Despite advances in care, cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death among people with type 2 diabetes. In Lebanon, 47% of deaths are due to CVDs and is the primary reason for hospital admission due to a variety of factors. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is up to four times higher in people with diabetes. Further, approximately one in two people with diabetes worldwide die due to cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Paola Atallah, President of the LSEDL said, "Type 2 diabetes is worldwide epidemic. The prevalence of diabetes amongst adults in Lebanon ranges between 8% and 14%, representing a serious health concern due to the continuous change of lifestyle that has led to a striking increase in the prevalence of the disease. Reducing risk factors can significantly reduce prevalence rates. Regular assessments are also key to prevent complications and other adverse outcomes associated with the disease."
Dr. Atallah also noted, "Given the importance and relationship between CVD and diabetes, the availability of a holistic approach and comprehensive medical solutions in the Lebanon aim at addressing the management of cardiovascular implications related to type 2 diabetes. In contrary to past randomized clinical trials, recently published trials of new classes showed cardiovascular benefits in diabetic patients with CVD. The recently published EMPA REG Trial results shows an impressive 32% reduction of all-cause mortality and 38% of CVD related death. Subsequently guidelines have supported predilection of use of those new antidiabetics with proof of reducing cardiovascular outcomes and highlighted the importance of managing T2D with cardiovascular disease with a cardiovascular approach."
In addition, Dr. Antoine Sarkis, President of the LSC mentioned, "World Heart Day is an important reminder to focus on the continued rise of CVDs, not only in Lebanon, but across the region and the world. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause for death accounting for more than 17 million deaths worldwide each year (30% of all deaths). CVD related deaths in Lebanon account for around 47% of the total deaths. People with type 2 diabetes have a higher cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and are disproportionately affected by CVD.
"People with type 2 diabetes must seek professional advice to manage any cardiovascular risk implication. This complex relationship makes it necessary for cardiologists in cooperation with endocrinologists and primary care physicians to have an important role in educating patients on cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes. We need to drive better patient education modules on how to modify cardiovascular risk factors in order to offer the best chance of improving CVD outcomes," added Dr. Sarkis. Besides modifying cardiovascular risk factors, there are new tools in the medical armamentarium, which allow not only a better control of diabetes but also a significant reduction in cardiovascular events. These medications with proven benefits, such as Empagliflozin, have been included in the European cardiology recommendations.
Doctors from both the LSEDL and LSC, and other medical professionals will participate in the cycling event organized by Beirut by Bike as part of the wider community outreach efforts to raise awareness of the complex relationship between type 2 diabetes and CVDs.
Fouad Jeweidi, Levant Head Levant at Boehringer Ingelheim said, "We are marking World Heart Day in Lebanon by identifying current unmet needs for patients with type 2 diabetes, who may also suffer from CVD risk factors. This reflects alarming public health concerns, which requires immediate intervention and the collaboration of the wider community. Boehringer Ingelheim has a robust legacy in providing comprehensive care and management protocols for people with type 2 diabetes. We continue to invest in R&D excellence through research and collaboration, a broad and growing product portfolio and a continued determination to provide real solutions, to ultimately make life better for all those affected by diabetes."
The awareness campaign in Lebanon is part of a wider initiative that is introduced by Boehringer Ingelheim across the region, which emphasizes the clear need to drive patient educations programs to raise awareness on the relationship between type 2 diabetes and CVDs.
Those who have type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease like, heart disease and stroke. Studies have shown that optimal blood glucose levels, along with the control of hypertension, weight loss and quitting smoking, are all necessary to reduce cardiovascular risks in type 2 diabetes patients. In particular, those who have diabetes and hypertension, the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles. Regular check-ups can help patients living with type 2 diabetes and help to reduce adverse outcomes such as cardiovascular diseases associated with diabetes.
Medical professionals have highlighted that the latest treatment modules available in Lebanon are shifting the mind-set by not only focusing on lowering blood glucose levels in patients, but also offering cardio-protection by reducing the relative risk of cardiovascular death.