April 17 (UPI) — A drug commonly used to treat diabetes may also fight heart disease, a new study says.

Metformin could reverse left ventricular hypertrophy, thickening of the heart muscle, which can cause heart disease, according to research published Tuesday in the European Heart Journal.

“The major causes of left ventricular hypertrophy are high blood pressure, obesity and insulin resistance, which are also thought to be key contributors to artery disease,” Chim Lang, who runs molecular and clinical at the University of Dundee and study author, said in a news release. “Metformin reduced blood pressure, oxidative stress and lost body weight — an average of 3.6 kilograms, compared to no changes in the placebo group.”

Most people with left ventricular hypertrophy don’t know until they have a heart attack or stroke.

This study goes along with other research that says Metformin can reduce heart thickening caused by left ventricular hypertrophy.

“The dangerous thickening of the left ventricle was reduced by twice as much in those taking metformin compared to the placebo,” Lang said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Disease, one in 500 people in the United States may have left ventricular hypertrophy.

“The findings from our study reinforce the notion that metformin has the potential to improve cardiovascular health, offering the possibility of improving life expectancy of patients,” Lang said. “From the standpoint of clinical practice, this drug is already approved and well tolerated with minimal side effect.”

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