Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in people with diabetes, though many people are unaware there is a connection. People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes. If you or someone you know has diabetes it is important to know how to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Even if you have heart disease or have already had a heart attack or a stroke, every step you take to keep your ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) in your target range will help lower your risk of future heart disease or a stroke.
A is for A1C. Your A1C check, which also may be reported as estimated average glucose (eAG) tells you your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months.
B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should.
C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your arteries. High triglycerides raise your risk for a heart attack or a stroke
Additionally, diet and exercise help reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related complications such as kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and as mentioned above, heart attack and stroke. Healthy eating includes eating a wide variety of foods including:
• whole grains
• non-fat dairy products
• lean meats
There is no one perfect food so including a variety of different foods and watching portion sizes is key to a healthy diet. Also, make sure your choices from each food group provide the highest quality nutrients you can find. In other words, pick foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber over those that are processed.
The American Diabetes Association has an online nutrition resource, MyFoodAdvisor®: Recipes for Healthy Living. This online resource features a new set of recipes, a meal plan, and other healthy tips each month, accessible to those who register: www.diabetes.org/RFHL. For more heart healthy diet tips visit: http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/tips/2012-02/diabetes-and-heart-health.html