A pivotal multicenter study published in 2005 of people with type 1 diabetes showed that tight blood-glucose control lowers the risk of heart disease. Experts believe that people with type 2 diabetes benefit from the same advice. Keeping your blood sugar level in check can prevent or delay blood vessel damage.
- Fit at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. Try walking a half hour every day or 10 minutes after each meal. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the far end of the lot and hoof it to your destination.
- Eat heart-healthy foods. Enjoy whole-grain breads and cereals, fruit, and vegetables, and cut back on foods loaded in saturated fat and cholesterol. Also avoid processed foods with trans fat.
- Have your blood pressure checked. It should be below 130/80 for most people.
- Lose weight if you are overweight. A registered dietitian can help you plan meals that will help your reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Kick the habit if you smoke. Ask your doctor about ways to help you quit.
- Have your cholesterol checked. Aim for an LDL or bad cholesterol level that is below 100; an HDL or good cholesterol level that is above 40 if youre male and above 50 if youre female; and triglyceride level that is below 150.
- Ask about a daily aspirin regimen. Taking a low dose of aspirin every day may help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Talk to your doctor before starting an aspirin regimen.
- If youve been prescribed medication, take it as directed.
A multicenter study called Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes, or ACCORD, is following 10,000 type 2 patients at high risk for heart disease for four to eight years.