Diabetes affects more than 16 million Americans. It damages blood vessels, including the coronary arteries of the heart.
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Up to 75 percent of those with diabetes develop heart and blood vessel diseases. Diabetes also can lead to stroke, kidney failure, and other problems. Because of the link with heart disease, it’s important for those with diabetes to prevent or control heart disease and its risk factors. Besides diabetes, major risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, and overweight and obesity.
Fortunately, new research shows that the same steps that reduce the risk of heart disease also lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. And, for those who already have diabetes, those steps, along with taking any prescribed medication, also can delay or prevent the development of complications of diabetes, such as eye disease and nerve damage.
According to the research, a 7 percent loss of body weight and 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by 58 percent in those who are at high risk. The lifestyle changes cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or weight.
- Follow a heart healthy eating plan, which is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in total fat.
- Aim for a healthy weight.
- Be physically active each day–try to do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking on most and, preferably, all days of the week.
- Don’t smoke.
- Prevent or control high blood pressure.
- Prevent or control high blood cholesterol.
If you already have diabetes, you can delay its progression, or prevent or slow the development of heart, blood vessel, and other complications by following the steps given above and these:
- Eat your meals and snacks at around the same times each day.
- Check with your doctor about physical activities that are best for you.
- Take your diabetes medicine at the same times each day.
- Check your blood sugar every day. Each time you check your blood sugar, write the number in your record book. Call your doctor if your numbers are too high or too low for 2 to 3 days.
- Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails.
- Brush and floss your teeth and gums every day.
- Take any prescribed medication for other conditions, such as coronary heart disease.
- Check with your doctor about taking aspirin each day if you have heart disease.
After learning these important information the link of diabetes with heart disease, it will be helpful to read Dealing With Diabetes to learn more about basic diabetes management skill, self-testing, what to eat, how to take medications, exercising, foot care, prognosis and possible complications.
- Tests for Diabetes
- Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
- Prevent Diabetes
- Eating and Diabetes
- Dealing with Diabetes
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