Understand the Connection
Lower Your Heart Risk
You can change the course of your disease and lower your chances of developing heart-related problems in addition to diabetes. Be sure to talk with your health professional.
Here are some suggestions that may help:
❱❱ Quit smoking
- Ask for help.
- Call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).
❱❱ Commit to regular exercise
- Sitting for long periods of time, not exercising — or both — are harmful.
- Aim for 150 minutes of activity per week (just over 20 minutes a day).
- Housework, brisk walking, dancing, gardening, swimming and riding a bike are all good ways to stay active. Doing 10-minute bursts of activity at a time counts — and they add up!
❱❱ Choose a heart-healthy diet
- Talk with your health care team about a heart-healthy eating plan that also keeps your diabetes better controlled. For example, try to choose:
- Non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruits
- Whole-grain foods
- Lean proteins
- Low-fat milk and dairy products
- Healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado and vegetable oils)
- Foods low in sugar and simple carbohydrates
- Make good choices when eating on the go.
- Hold the salt.
❱❱ Maintain a healthy weight
❱❱ Know your numbers
- Keep track of your A1C, blood pressure and LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, and work to keep them under control.
- Ask about cardiovascular risk calculators.
❱❱ Lower stress and get enough sleep
- Aim for seven or more uninterrupted hours of shut-eye a night.
- If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, talk with your doctor as this also can affect your heart health.
❱❱ Educate others
- Most people with diabetes don’t know about the relationship between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Spread the word to empower others to take action for a healthy heart.
Published: July 2018
Medical Reviewers: John Bucheit, PharmD, BCACP, CDE; Deborah Croy, DNP, RN, ANP-BC, AACC
CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief: Martha Gulati, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FASPC