Know Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the diabetes-related complications every person with diabetes should be aware of. A number of conditions can fall under the scope of CVD such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve issues. In this article, we’ll discuss the risks of developing cardiovascular disease for people with type 2 diabetes, as well as the signs, symptoms and how to prevent CVD.
Cardiovascular disease conditions:
Quick facts about diabetes and heart disease:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
- At least 68 percent of people aged 65 or older with diabetes die from a form of heart disease and 16 percent die from strokes.
- People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke compared to people without diabetes.
- According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), diabetes is one of the controllable risk factors for CVD.
- Adults with diabetes two to four times more likely to die than those without.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease
So, how are diabetes and cardiovascular diseases related? Long periods of high blood sugars can damage your nerves and blood vessels. But, there are other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as:
- Hypertension and high blood pressure
- High levels of LDL cholesterol
- High triglyceride (fat) levels in the blood
- Excess visceral belly fat
- Eating patterns high in saturated fat, trans fats and sodium
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Family history of heart disease
People of colour with diabetes are at an even higher risk for CVD
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for most people of Black/African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. Heart disease is second to cancer for women who are of Pacific Islander/Asian-American, Native American and Hispanic ethnicity.
According to the American College of Cardiology, Black people have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in the U.S., with nearly 47 percent impacted by it; and that number is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2035. For Hispanic communities, similar increases are expected, with 30 percent of the population having CVD in 2015, yet that number is expected to rise to 45 percent in 2035.
Unfortunately, Black people are also two to three times more likely to die from heart disease compared to white individuals. A study of cardiovascular risk profiles among ethnic groups in Ontario also found that Black people had the least favourable risk profile. Also, while men are also likely to die from heart disease, the incidences of heart disease deaths in women are increasing, as well.
It’s important to remember these risk factors are influenced by socioeconomic factors such as barriers to access to healthy foods and supermarkets, access to healthcare, particularly preventative care and worse treatment compared to their white counterparts.
Symptoms and signs of cardiovascular disease
Early action and preventative care is key to addressing underlying cardiovascular issues. Here are their signs and symptoms:
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Pain or discomfort in the arms, left shoulder, elbows, legs, back or jaw
- Nausea or fatigue
Preventing cardiovascular disease
As a person with diabetes, it’s critical to protect your heart at all costs. You can prevent or delay the chances of developing cardiovascular disease by managing the ABCS:
A – A1C
Make sure you’re getting your A1C checked every 2–3 months, or as agreed to with your doctor. Manage your blood glucose levels on a regular basis by staying within your target range to reach your A1C goals.
B – Blood Pressure
Aim to keep your blood pressure under 140/90 mm Hg or a range set by your doctor.
C – Cholesterol
Talk to your doctor about setting cholesterol levels for you and how much you should consume through your diet. Remember, HDL cholesterol helps reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases while an eating pattern high in LDL increases them. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and high in fiber.
S – Stop Smoking
Other ways to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease include exercising regularly. The American Heart Association recommends:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or;
- 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week, or;
- An equal combination of moderate-and-vigorous physical activity
- Moderate-to-high intensity resistance training twice per week.
- Cardiovascular disease accounts for a number of heart-related conditions such as heart failure, stroke, peripheral artery disease and more.
- People with type 2 diabetes are two to three times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than people without diabetes.
- Risk factors for CVD include high cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking.
- People of color, especially Black and Hispanic people are at a higher risk for CVD and death from CVD.
- Reduce the risk of developing CVD by managing diabetes well, using your ABCS: A1c, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Stop Smoking (or don’t start).
- If you’re experiencing any symptoms of CVD, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
This content was made possible with the support of Trulicity, a partner of Beyond Type 2.