Ten percent of all deaths in Canada can be traced back to complications from diabetes, It’s a stunning statistic that shows how diabetes can lead to so much more.

People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized with heart disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease, and over 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for a non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population.

Controlling diabetes is key to avoiding so many more complications. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about my work with Diabetes Canada. It’s not only about sugar taxes, or promoting exercise, or getting kids looked after in school, it’s about getting all of us to be healthier, live longer, and with fewer complications.

Once you have diabetes, management is so important.

Studies show that people with diabetes may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes, but only 50 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes are aware of it.

So here’s some awareness:

  • Approximately one in two people with type 2 diabetes die due to heart disease.,
  • People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized for heart health problems than people without diabetes. 
  • Type 2 diabetes can lead to an early death from heart disease.

How can people with type 2 diabetes reduce their risk of developing heart disease?

For people with type 2 diabetes, managing blood sugar alone may not be enough to protect the heart.

Diabetes Canada recommends that people with diabetes ask their doctor about the ABCDEs, that may help reduce their risk of heart disease.

ABCDEs to reduce the risk:

A – A1C: Control blood glucose levels and keep A1C around 7 per cent or less. A1C is a blood test that is an index of the average blood glucose level over the last 120 days
B – Blood pressure: Keep blood pressure to less than 130/80 mmHg
– Cholesterol: LDL (bad) cholesterol target is 2.0 mmol/L or less
D – Drugs to protect your heart: Speak with your doctor about medication options to help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
E – Exercise: Regular physical activity, along with healthy diet, and achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight
S – Smoking and stress: Avoid smoking and manage stress effectively

Talk To Your Doctor, Assess Your Risk

While controlling blood sugar is important in managing diabetes, it may not be enough to protect the heart. The good news is that recent advances have been made in managing the risk of death from heart disease in people with diabetes.

Canadians with type 2 diabetes should speak with their doctor about steps they can take to help manage their risk of heart disease.

Visit myheartmatters.ca to learn more.

This post is sponsored by an alliance of two of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies, but opinions are my own. 

How does heart disease happen?

Heart disease happens when the heart or the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart have been damaged. Diabetes alone is considered a risk factor for heart disease.

In addition to having diabetes, additional risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Being overweight or not exercising
  • Smoking

People with diabetes with one or more of these risk factors are at even a greater risk of heart disease or stroke. Visit myheartmatters.ca to assess your risks and learn more.

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