Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: What's the Link?
Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Why Is There a Risk?
- Their platelets have an added tendency to clump together leading to clotting problems and poor blood flow.
- They have higher rates of high blood pressure and obesity.
- They tend to have unfavorable lipid profiles, particularly increased LDL or “bad” cholesterol; low levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol; and increased levels of triglycerides.
Who Are the High-risk Groups?
- People with a family history of diabetes
- Overweight and obese people, especially extra weight around the waist
- Older people
- Special populations
- African Americans
- Hispanic/Latino Americans
- American Indians
- Asian Americans
- Pacific Islanders
Management of Diabetes
- Blood glucose is measured with the hemoglobin A1C test. The recommended goal for this test is a reading of less than 7%.
- Blood pressure should be less than 130/80 mmHg.
- LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dl (2.6 mmol/L).
- Triglycerides should be under 150 mg/dL.
- For men, HDL (good) cholesterol should be above 40 mg/dL; for women, it should be over 50 mg/dL.
How Do You Lower the Risk?
- Get involved in treatment decisions with your healthcare team.
- Be actively involved in the management of your disease.
- Set lifestyle goals.
- Become well-educated about diabetes and CVD.
- Eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol and low in sodium.
- Eat more fiber.
- Get at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
- Diligently control your blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure with and without medications.
- Ask about aspirin therapy for CVD prevention.
- If you smoke, quit. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor.
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/
National Diabetes Education Program http://ndep.nih.gov/
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov/
Canadian Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.ca/
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/
Heart disease. American Diabetes Association website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/. Accessed June 12, 2012.
The link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. National Diabetes Education Program website. Available at: http://ndep.nih.gov/media/CVD%5FFactSheet.pdf. Updated February 2007. Accessed June 12, 2012.
Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/stroke/index.aspx. Updated December 6, 2011. Accessed June 18, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2012 -
- Update Date: 06/18/2012 -