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Some people are born with diabetes while others develop the condition later on in life. While diabetes is a manageable condition, it still greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. In many cases, diabetics have higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels which can contribute to the development of heart disease. However, the American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Did you know that if you have diabetes you’re more likely to develop heart disease? For #HeartHealth month, take a look at the risk factors that can lead to heart disease in diabetics. Click To Tweet

According to the American Heart Association, “Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.” While these statistics are alarming, heart failure is preventable for diabetics. Keep reading to learn why diabetes is linked to heart disease, and discover how to protect your heart.

Smoking

Smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease, even if you’re not diabetic. Now when you add diabetes into the mix, you’ve created a dangerous combination. Diabetes already narrows your blood vessels, but smoking does, as well. On top of this, smoking increases your risk of lung cancer and many other health problems. If you are addicted to cigarettes and have diabetes, don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider immediately. They can offer you some help to quit the habit for good.

Hypertension

High blood pressure has been proven to be linked to insulin resistance. Many diabetics suffer from hypertension.  When you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work intensely to pump blood. That’s why hypertension significantly increases your risk of heart disease, heart failure, and strokes.

Pro Tip: To lower your blood pressure, it’s important to make healthy lifestyle changes and visit your primary care physician regularly.

Cholesterol Levels

Did you know that you have good and bad cholesterol? LDL is often referred to as “bad” while HDL is considered “good”. If you have higher levels of LDL, you’re chances of developing heart disease increase, because LDL accumulates in your arteries. If you’re diabetic and want to lower your cholesterol levels, you should already be taking a type of prescription medication called a statin, which lessens LDL. If you’re diabetic and haven’t heard of this drug, talk to your doctor immediately. Some natural ways to combat high cholesterol is by making changes to your diet. Eat meals rich in whole grain, fruits and vegetables, and low in processed, fatty foods.

Obesity and Exercise

Obesity and insulin resistance go hand-in-hand. The best way to combat obesity is to lessen your calorie intake and increase exercise. It’s necessary to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. This will help you lose weight while reducing blood pressure and reducing your risk for heart disease. If you’re struggling with weight loss, a nutrition specialist can help you achieve your goals.

Keep Your Heart Healthy

If you have diabetes and are worried about your risk for heart disease, schedule a consultation with your doctor. Thankfully, you can take measures to stop the onset of heart disease while feeling your best.

Would you like to know more about diabetes and heart disease? Contact us to speak with our team of medical experts today.