NEW ORLEANS - Diabetes, or high blood sugar, causes damage to the blood vessels over time, and that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
A study in Metairie, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is looking into a different way of preventing heart attacks in people with type-2 diabetes.
Alfred Gagliano or 'Gags' as he is called, found out he was moving toward having type-2 diabetes.
"I did have some studies. Doctor did some blood tests and said I was close. Had to watch the sweets, which I do," said Gagliano, who has pre-diabetes.
He is getting his blood sugar levels under control with medication and exercise.
"I ride a bike. I walk. I like to shop, so I walk around the mall a few times everyday," said Gagliano.
That's important, because diabetes puts you at high risk for having heart attacks and strokes. The National Institutes of Heath is funding a study to see if chelation can lower a diabetic's risk. Chelation is an IV treatment that helps flush the body of heavy metals that are toxic.
"Not everybody in the environment obviously has toxicity, but we all have a certain amount of heavy metals just from living in an industrialized society," explained Dr. Robert Jeanfreau, an internist with MedPharmics.
A study 15 years ago, found that people with type-2 diabetes who had had a heart attack and got chelation, were less likely to have future attacks.
"What they found was there was about a 43 percent reduction in second cardiovascular events," said Dr. Jeanfreau.
A free national study going on in Metairie, is looking to see if 40 IV chelation treatments, will keep diabetics who have had a heart attack, from having another one. Study participants will come in once a week and relax while getting a three-hour infusion. Gags has never had a heart attack so he doesn't qualify for the study, but hopes it will help others.
"I've known some people that have had full blown diabetes and I had a friend, a couple of friends, that have died from it," said Gagliano.
Doctors are looking for people with type-2 diabetes, 50 and older, who have had a heart attack in the past.
To see if you qualify for this free study call MedPharmics at 504-457-2721.