Search icon

DIABETES & HEART DISEASE:

MANAGING YOUR RISKS

Key Takeaways

DIABETICS HAVE AN INCREASED RISK OF HEART DISEASE.

MANAGE DIABETES TO LOWER YOUR RISK OF HEART ATTACK

Proper management of diabetes is a sound way to prevent heart attacks.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR IF AN ASPIRIN REGIMEN IS RIGHT FOR YOU

Aspirin can help improve blood flow, so ask your doctor if an aspirin regimen is right for you.

Some studies have revealed a surprising fact regarding heart disease and diabetes: A middle-aged, type 2 diabetic’s risk of having a first heart attack is about equal to that of a similarly aged non-diabetic, but diabetics have a much higher risk of having a second heart attack.

What Diabetics Can Do to Lower Their Risk

The American Heart Association® considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. If you’re diabetic, your best defense against heart disease is to manage your diabetes properly.

Here are some easy steps you can take to lower your risk:

Eat Right

To reduce your risk of heart attack, eat a heart healthy diet that is high in fiber (found in certain vegetables) and low in saturated fat (found in red meat and dairy products) and trans fat (found in heavy baked goods and margarine). Always read labels to make sure you stay under 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar

If you don’t monitor your blood sugar regularly, your insulin levels can get out of balance, which can damage your blood vessels.

Stay Active

To keep your heart strong and your blood vessels from getting clogged with fatty plaque deposits, aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity several days a week. Choose exercises you enjoy instead of those you dislike so you’re more likely to stick with your fitness program. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Control Your Weight

Almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Keeping your weight in a normal range reduces your heart’s work load, and might even help you get rid of your type 2 diabetes.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking hurts your heart and harms your body in a number of ways. There are a variety of successful cessation programs to choose from, and many are covered by insurance. Get your doctor’s advice on finding the best plan to help you kick the habit.

Talk to Your Doctor about Aspirin

A doctor-directed regimen of low dose aspirin can help keep your blood flowing. Check with your doctor to see if an aspirin regimen is right for you.

Get Regular Checkups

Don’t try to manage your heart disease and diabetes risks on your own. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor and ask plenty of questions about the relationship between diabetes and heart disease.

It takes constant diligence to manage diabetes properly. But a little bit of effort makes great strides in preventing heart disease.

THE HEART HEALTH RISK TOOL1

LEARN YOUR RISK OF A HEART ATTACK OR STROKE

Do you know your risk factors?2 Find out and get a personalized heart-healthy action plan to share with your doctor.

Scale from low to high with indicator over high Scale from low to high with indicator over high
LOW
MODERATE
ELEVATED
HIGH
Bayer Low Dose Aspirin bottle next to unmarked prescription bottles

MANAGING RISK:

WHY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS MAY NOT BE ENOUGH

If you take prescription medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, they may not be enough to protect your heart. Talk to your doctor about whether these medications are enough for you and whether adding an aspirin regimen can help further reduce the risk of another heart attack or clot-related (ischemic) stroke.

TELL ME HOW ASPIRIN HELPS

Aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.

HEART ATTACK SURVIVOR STORIES