Feb. 12 - Heart Month: Diabetes and Heart Disease - A Common Lin - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Feb. 12 - Heart Month: Diabetes and Heart Disease - A Common Link

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GOOD MORNING DELMARVA - People with diabetes have a much higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke – and two out of three people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is treatable, but even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association explains that this is because people with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, often have the following conditions that contribute to their risk for developing cardiovascular disease:

 - High blood pressure: a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that when patients have both hypertension and diabetes, which is a common combination, their risk for cardiovascular disease doubles.

 - Abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides: Patients with diabetes often have unhealthy cholesterol levels including high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high triglycerides. These three factors can contribute to heart disease, and are also characteristic of a lipid disorder associated with insulin resistance.

 - Obesity: a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and has been strongly associated with insulin resistance. Weight loss can improve cardiovascular risk, decrease insulin concentration and increase insulin sensitivity.

The good news is that these are all health issues that may be addressed through both medication and lifestyle modifications. People with diabetes should take extra care with their hearts, not just during Heart Month, but all the time.

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