Statement by the American Diabetes Association Regarding the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults

Alexandria, Virginia
November 26, 2013

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recently released the 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. The American Diabetes Association (Association) recognizes the release of the new revised 2013 ACC/AHA Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines.

While select Association members participated in the process to develop the revised guideline, the guideline was not developed in collaboration with Association’s Professional Practice Committee, which develops the Association’s Clinical Practice Recommendations. 

Members of the Association’s Professional Practice Committee plan to review the changes in the 2013 ACC/AHA Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines as they relate to patients with diabetes and prediabetes, and will determine if changes in the Association’s cholesterol management guidelines are warranted. However, such a thorough assessment could not be completed in a timely manner for the 2014 Standards of Care, but will be addressed in the 2015 Standards of Care.

There are underlying similarities and differences between the Association’s current Standards of Care and the revised 2013 ACC/AHA Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines. Both the Association and the ACC/AHA recognize the high prevalence, and morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, and the importance of primary and secondary cardiovascular disease risk reduction in this population.

Both the current Association recommendations and the 2013 ACC/AHA Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines:

1) Emphasize the importance to well-being and cardiovascular risk reduction of lifestyle, healthy diet and exercise, and weight management, and;

2) Recognize the value of high intensity statin therapy added to lifestyle therapy for patients with diabetes and overt atherosclerotic CVD, regardless of baseline lipid levels. 

The Association will consider whether moderate-dose statins should be used for the primary prevention in all patients 40-75 years of age with diabetes, regardless of baseline lipid levels or the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors. Notably, the revised 2013 ACC/AHA Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines de-emphasize lipid goal oriented treatment. Diabetes patients often have a unique pattern of dyslipidemia that may require specific consideration.

Additionally, there is no distinction between patients with type 1, type 2 or other forms of diabetes where there is less high quality data. Both the Association and the ACC/AHA recognize risk assessment as a process and that guidelines do not replace clinical judgment and patients’ circumstances in setting individualized goals and care for patients.

The Association encourages patients to consult their health care team, if they have questions about statin use.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)