For the over 30 million Americans—9.4% percent of the population—with diabetes, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and a major cause of disability. In fact, people with diabetes are two times more likely to experience heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes. And this risk comes at no small cost: for people at age 60, having type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease shortens life expectancy by an average of 12 years.
These numbers are staggering. However, if you are living with diabetes, there is good news: you can take charge of your heart health and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. When the link between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is recognized and steps toward heart health are taken, the likelihood of heart attack and stroke is diminished.
That’s why the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association have partnered to create Know Diabetes by Heart™, a collaborative landmark initiative aimed at helping people with type 2 diabetes understand and take action towards lowering their cardiovascular risk.
If you are living with diabetes, your best defense begins with knowing your risk, so talk to your to doctor and take charge of your health today.
Your best defense begins with knowing
The first step in reducing your risk is understanding it. To learn more about the link between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, visit KnowDiabetesByHeart.org, where you can:
- Take a quiz to test your knowledge about the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- Download a discussion guide with the top three questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment
- Sign up to receive the Living with Type 2 Diabetes program, a free, year-long program to reduce your risks and receive ongoing support for your personal health journey; and
- Join ADA’s Ask the Expert Q&A Series. Learn more about the link between diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, and ask a question of our experts
Ask your doctor how you can reduce your risk
Managing your risk starts with talking to your doctor, yet despite the severity of the risk, many people with diabetes have not yet done so. A recent online survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that only about half of people age 45 and older with type 2 diabetes have discussed their increased likelihood of experiencing heart attack or stroke with their health care providers.
If you are living with diabetes, ask your doctor about your risk for cardiovascular disease at your next appointment. Every person is different, and your doctor will help you create an action plan that works best for you. The longer you live with diabetes, the greater the risk of heart attack or stroke, so it is important to have this conversation and set a plan today.
Take charge of your health
In addition to establishing a plan with your doctor, a major step in reducing your risk is to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These simple yet important steps will help address the underlying causes of diabetes and heart disease:
- Eat nutritious foods
- Start exercising regularly
- Monitor your blood glucose closely
- Stay regular with your medication
- Find healthy ways to manage stress
- If you smoke, quit
For more tools and resources on how to improve your heart health, visit KnowDiabetesbyHeart.org.
Know Diabetes by Heart™
The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association are here to give you the tools you need to address the link between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and lower your risk. The collaborative landmark initiative Know Diabetes by Heart™ was established with the goal of comprehensively combatting the national public health impact of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the following ways:
- Helping people better understand the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease;
- Positively empowering people with type 2 diabetes to take charge of their health and lower their risk; and
- Supporting health care providers in educating their patients living with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk.
Founding sponsors of Know Diabetes by Heart™ are the Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company Diabetes Alliance and Novo Nordisk. The initative is nationally sponsored by Sanofi and AstraZeneca.