Diabetes and Your Heart: You Have Control

Type 2 diabetes patients can reduce risk of heart disease through diet and adherence to medication

(RxWiki News) Diabetes can cause many other health problems. Many of these problems cannot be avoided. In some cases, however, diabetes patients can take steps to protect themselves against certain complications.

In a recent study, researchers found that patients with type 2 diabetes can reduce their risk of heart disease through diet and sticking to their drug treatments.

People with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, but much of that risk comes from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking - all problems that can be fixed through diet, exercise, quitting smoking and staying on schedule with medications.

"Diabetes patients may avoid heart disease by staying on their meds and eating right."

Doctors often struggle to manage all the diabetes-related risks for heart disease in their patients. This study highlights the important role that diabetes patients play in controlling their disease.

The study's authors conclude that high-quality diabetes care has to find those changeable factors - like diet and adherence to medications - that put patients at risk for heart disease.

In Depth

For their study, John Zeber, Ph.D., and Michael L. Parchman, M.D., looked at risk factors for heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, in 313 patients. These risk factors included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking status, and HbA1c levels, which is a sign of blood-glucose control.

Zeber and Parchman found:

  • Patients with type 2 diabetes have a 16.2 percent chance of developing heart disease
  • Almost one-third of diabetes patients' risk of heart disease can be explained by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking
  • Patients reduced their risk of stroke by 44 percent if they managed their diets well and stuck to their prescription drug schedules
  • Patients reduced their risk of heart attack by 39 percent if they managed their diets well and stuck to their prescription drug schedules
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 22, 2011