ADA Advises New BP, Lipid Targets for People With Diabetes

The standards now advise a blood pressure target for people with diabetes of less than 130/80 mmHg, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol targets of below 70 mg/dL or no greater than 55 mg/dL, depending on the individual's cardiovascular risk.

"In this year's version of the ADA Standards of Care — the longstanding guidelines for diabetes management globally — you'll see information that really speaks to how we can more aggressively treat diabetes and reduce complications in a variety of different ways," ADA Chief Scientific and Medical Officer Robert A. Gabbay, MD, PhD, told Medscape Medical News.

Other changes for 2023 include a new emphasis on weight loss as a goal of therapy for type 2 diabetes; guidance for screening and assessing peripheral arterial disease in an effort to prevent amputations; use of finerenone in people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease; use of approved point-of-care A1c tests; and guidance on screening for food insecurity, along with an elevated role for community health workers.

"The management of type 2 diabetes is not just about glucose," Gabbay emphasized, noting that the ADA Standards have increasingly focused on cardiorenal risk as well as weight management. "We need to think about all those things, not just one. We have better tools now that have been helpful in being able to move forward with this."

New Targets in Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Management

As it has for the past 6 years, the section on cardiovascular disease and risk management is also endorsed by the American College of Cardiology.

The new definition of hypertension in people with diabetes is ≥ 130 mmHg systolic or ≥ 80 mmHg diastolic blood pressure, repeated on two measurements at different times. Among individuals with established cardiovascular disease, hypertension can be diagnosed with one measurement of ≥ 180/110 mmHg.

The goal of treatment is now less than 130/80 mmHg if it can be reached safely.
In 2012, easing of the systolic target to 140 mmHg by the ADA caused some controversy.
But, as Gabbay explained: "The evidence wasn't there 10 years ago. We stuck to the evidence at that time, although there was a belief that lower was better. Over the past decade, a number of studies have made it quite clear that there is benefit to a lower target. That's why we staked out the ground on this."
The new Standards also has new lipid targets. For people with diabetes aged 40-75 years at increased cardiovascular risk, including those with one or more atherosclerotic risk factors, high-intensity statin therapy is recommended to reduce LDL cholesterol by 50% or more from baseline and to a target of less than 70 mg/dL, in contrast to the previous target of 100 mg/dL.
To achieve that goal, the document advises to consider adding ezetimibe or a PCSK9 inhibitor to maximally tolerated statin therapy.
For people with diabetes aged 40-75 who have established cardiovascular disease, treatment with high-intensity statin therapy is recommended with the target of a 50% or greater reduction from baseline and an LDL cholesterol level of 55 mg/dL or lower, in contrast to the previous 70 mg/dL.
"That is a lower goal than previously recommended, and based on strong evidence in the literature," Gabbay noted.
Here, a stronger recommendation is made for ezetimibe or a PCSK9 inhibitor added to maximal statins.
And for people with diabetes older than 75 years, those already on statins should continue taking them. For those who aren't, it may be reasonable to initiate moderate-intensity statin therapy after discussion of the benefits and risks.
Another new recommendation based on recent trial data is use of a sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor in people with diabetes and heart failure with preserved, as well as reduced, ejection fraction.

Kidney Disease Guidance Updated: SGLT2 Inhibitors, Finerenone
Another recommendation calls for the addition of finerenone for people with type 2 diabetes who have chronic kidney disease (CKD) with albuminuria and have been treated with the maximum tolerated doses of an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) to improve cardiovascular outcomes as well as reduce the risk of CKD progression.
The threshold for initiating an SGLT2 inhibitor for kidney protection has changed to an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥ 20 mL/min/1.73m2 and urinary albumin ≥ 200 mg/g creatinine (previously ≥ 25 mL/min/1.73m2 and ≥ 300 mg/g, respectively). An SGLT2 inhibitor may also be beneficial in people with a urinary albumin of normal to ≥ 200 mg/g creatinine, but supporting data have not yet been published.
Referral to a nephrologist is advised for individuals with increasing urinary albumin levels or continued decreasing eGFR or eGFR < 30 mL/min/1.73m2.

Weight Loss, Point-of-Care Testing, Food Insecurity Assessment
Other changes for 2023 include fresh emphasis on supporting weight loss of up to 15% with the new twincretin tirzepatide (Mounjaro) — approved in the United States in May for type 2 diabetes — added as a glucose-lowering drug with weight loss potential.
A novel section was added with guidance for peripheral arterial disease screening.
And a new recommendation advises use of point-of-care A1c testing for diabetes screening and diagnosis using only tests approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Also introduced for 2023 is guidance to use community health workers to support the management of diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors, particularly in underserved areas and health systems.
"Community health workers can be a link to help people navigate and engage with the health system for better outcomes," said Gabbay.
He added that these professionals are among those who can also assist with screening for food insecurity, another new recommendation. "We talk about screening for food insecurity and tools to use. That shouldn't be something only dieticians do."
Gabbay said he'd like to see more clinicians partner with community health workers. "We'd like to see more of that...They should be considered part of the healthcare team," he said.
Gabbay has reported serving on advisory boards for Lark, Health Reveal, Sweetch, StartUp Health, Vida Health, and Onduo.
Diabetes Care. Published online December 12, 2022. Full text