People with diabetes have a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure and high cholesterol increase this risk even more. Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol are very important for preventing heart attacks and strokes in people with diabetes.
Your doctor should check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and your blood pressure. You may be asked to take medicines that treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
A healthy lifestyle, especially watching how much you eat and exercising every day, can help prevent heart attack and stroke. A daily 30-minute walk will lower your risk.
Other things you can do to lower your risk are:
See also: Managing your blood sugar
Your doctor should check your cholesterol level at least once a year. Cholesterol target goals for adults are:
If you already have heart problems, your doctor may tell you that having an LDL level below 70 mg/dl is better.
Your doctor may ask you to take medicines to lower your cholesterol:
Have your blood pressure checked often. You can have it checked at a fire station or a drugstore. Your doctor and nurse should check your blood pressure at every visit. Your blood pressure should be less than 130/80 mm/Hg.
Exercising, eating low-salt foods, and losing weight (if you are overweight) can lower your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, your doctor will prescribe drugs to lower it.
Getting exercise will help you control your diabetes and make your heart stronger. Always talk with your doctor before you start an exercise program or before you increase the amount of exercise you are doing. Some people with diabetes may have heart problems and not know it because they do not have symptoms.
Taking aspirin every day lowers your risk for blood clots and may help protect against heart attacks. The recommended dose is 75 to 162 mg a day.Do not take aspirin without talking to your doctor first. Ask your doctor about taking an aspirin every day if:
Symptoms of heart problems are:
Symptoms of stroke are: