Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and disability for people living with type 2 diabetes? National Diabetes Month is the perfect time to learn more.
In fact, people living with diabetes are two times more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease. Yet in a recent survey of people age 45 and older with type 2 diabetes conducted online by The Harris Poll, only about half recognized their risk or had discussed their risk for heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease with their health care providers.
Although the risks are great, it’s not all doom and gloom! The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have launched a collaborative initiative called Know Diabetes by Heart™ to comprehensively combat the national public health impact of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease by:
- Raising awareness and understanding of the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Positively empowering people to better manage their risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes.
- Supporting health care providers in educating their patients living with type 2 diabetes on cardiovascular risk and increasing their patients’ engagement in prevention of cardiovascular deaths, heart attacks and strokes.
This can start with you, your family, neighbors, and friends—by taking charge of your health! There are several ways that people living with type 2 diabetes can act immediately. Individuals should talk with their doctor at their next appointment about ways to reduce their risk of cardiovascular deaths, heart attacks, and strokes. Also visit KnowDiabetesbyHeart.org for resources to help continue the conversation with loved ones and doctors:
- Take the quiz. How well do you know about diabetes and the link to heart disease and stroke?
- Know the top four questions to ask your doctor and download a discussion guide.
- Sign up to receive ADA’s Living With Type 2 Diabetes Program, a free, year-long program, to reduce your risks and receive ongoing support for your personal health journey.
Diabetes is treatable and often preventable. If you have diabetes, you may be able to avoid or delay other health complications by:
- Working with your health care team to manage the disease, which may include the use of medications.
- Knowing your numbers, including your blood sugar level, weight, blood cholesterol level and blood pressure.
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle is easier said than done, but there are some strategies that many have found to be effective. If you don’t have diabetes, prevention is key. You can find successful strategies here. For those who have type 2 diabetes, you can find great tips for living healthy with diabetes here.
Living with diabetes can be overwhelming, but you aren’t in it alone. Work with your healthcare team, enlist help from those around you, and join a free, educational Ask the Experts Q&A Series session. This series was created to help tackle issues commonly faced by people living with diabetes and wondering about the relationship between diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Ask your question—online or on the phone—in a live Q&A with American Diabetes Association experts.
Contributor Cherish Hart, Vice-president of Health for the American Heart Association’s Puget Sound Division, champions heart and brain health equity across the region.