Diabetes and Your Heart

Older patient has her blood pressure checked

Diabetes and heart disease are more connected than you might think. A person with diabetes is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to someone who doesn’t. That’s because high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves around your heart.

Luckily, there is a lot you can do to help prevent both diabetes and heart disease. It starts with managing the diabetes ABCS:

A: Get your A1C tested regularly to track your average blood sugar over time.

B: Watch your blood pressure and keep it in the zone your health care provider recommends.

C: Stay on top of your cholesterol levels. Keep them down with lifestyle changes and medication your provider may prescribe.

S: Don’t smoke. If you smoke, find a smoking cessation program and stick to it.

Here are some other things that cut your heart disease and diabetes risks:

  • Manage stress. Not only can it increase blood pressure, it might also make you want to do other things that raise your risk, like overindulge in sweets.
  • Eat right. Pile on the produce, lean proteins and whole grains. And skip processed foods as much as you can.
  • Physical activity helps lower blood sugar. When done regularly, it can help prevent or manage diabetes.
  • Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing even a few pounds can help reduce triglycerides and blood sugar.
  • Consider medicine. Drugs can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar or help you lose weight. Talk to your provider about what’s right for you.
  • Get tested. Your health care provider can tell you what tests to schedule to evaluate your heart’s current

If you have questions about diabetes or heart disease, or want to talk about screenings, make an appointment with our heart team by visiting NWRegionalHeart.com, or call 503-257-0959.

Sources: American Diabetes Association; American Heart Association; Cardiovascular Research Foundation; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention