As you are probably aware, diabetes is a group of diseases that cause high blood glucose, which is essentially too much sugar in the blood. What you might not know is that if you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and your risk of heart attack and stroke also increases. This is due to the damage that high blood glucose can cause to your arteries and blood vessels. The longer you have high blood sugar levels, the greater the risk.
According to the American Heart Association, diabetic adults are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than non-diabetic people. An estimated 68% of people with diabetes aged 65 and older die from heart disease and a further 16% die from stroke. More than 100 million adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes, making diabetes one of the most prevalent, controllable risk factors for heart disease.
Diabetic patients, especially those with type 2 diabetes, may also have other risk factors that increase their chances of developing heart disease. These include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Poorly controlled blood sugar levels
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of heart disease
The good news is that you can lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease by properly managing your diabetes and taking steps to eliminate other risk factors.
- Manage your blood sugar levels. This may involve lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, stress reduction, medication and monitoring your levels.
- Control blood pressure. High blood pressure can be reduced through lifestyle changes and/or medication.
- Reduce high cholesterol through healthy lifestyle changes and medication, if needed.
- Maintain a healthy weight, and get regular exercise.
- Quit smoking, or do not start smoking.
If you are concerned about your risk for cardiovascular disease, the team at Advanced Cardiovascular Specialists is here to help.
To schedule an appointment, please call our office at (318) 798-9400.