Reducing hypertrophy in hypertension patients could lessen risk of diabetes
Regression or prevention of left-ventricular hypertrophy in hypertension patients may reduce their risk of developing diabetes, according to a study published in the November issue of Hypertension.

The risk of developing new-onset diabetes was reduced by 38 percent among those whose left-ventricular hypertrophy regressed during hypertension treatment with losartan, according to Peter Okin, MD, of Cornell University Medical Center.

The risk was still 26 percent lower after adjusting for drug treatment, blood pressure lowering medications and diabetes risk factors, the researchers reported.

The Cornell study, supported partly by Merck, maker of losartan, used data from the blinded Losartan Intervention for Endpoint Reduction in Hypertension (LIFE) study, which was conducted from 1995 through 2001. The LIFE study compared losartan to atenolol-based therapy for hypertensive patients with left- ventricular hypertrophy, and found losartan therapy associated with a lower incidence of diabetes and greater regression of hypertrophy.

The current study evaluated hypertrophy in 7,998 hypertensive patients without diabetes at baseline in the LIFE study, who were treated with losartan-based or atenolol-based regimens and followed with serial electrocardiograms and blood pressure determinations.
During a mean follow-up of 4.6 years, 562 patients, or 7 percent, developed diabetes.

Compared with the presence of hypertrophy during antihypertensive treatment, resolution or continued absence of hypertrophy was associated with a lower rate of diabetes, even after adjusting for the impact of treatment with losartan and other diabetes risk factors, the researchers reported.

Conversely, higher values of left-ventricular hypertrophy were associated with higher rates of new diabetes, they said.

The researchers conceded that their study limitations included the fact that the population was mainly white and derived from a high-risk population.