Heart Disease and Diabetes
It would be impossible to talk about diabetes without mentioning heart disease. The two are so closely related that every diabetic needs to make sure that they are taking better care of their hearts than your average person. The unfortunate fact is that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
This means that everyone needs to be concerned about cardiac issues. However, diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease. As many as two thirds of people who have diabetes will die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease. The great thing is that you can minimize your risk by making a certain lifestyle changes.
One important thing to have checked on a regular basis is your cholesterol level. Having high blood cholesterol levels is called hyperlipidemia. The general adult population needs to have their lipid levels checked every five years. If you have diabetes, it's recommended that you have your cholesterol levels checked every year. As long as your cholesterol is in the normal range, it's fine to get it checked every other year. The test should include total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The risk factors for heart disease include smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, low HDL cholesterol, family history of heart disease and advancing age. Doctors recommend that your total cholesterol levels should be under 200 while you're LDL cholesterol should be under 100. HDL cholesterol needs to be over 40 while triglycerides should remain under 150.
Heart disease is one of the most common complications associated with diabetes. Many people who contract type 2 diabetes also inherit a particular gene that predisposes them to other cardiac problems such as hyperlipidemia, obesity and hypertension. Having a genetic makeup like this can certainly increase the risk of heart disease.