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Diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease

Diabetes is a condition that affects how insulin is produced and used in the body. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar. A person who has diabetes either does not produce enough insulin or is unable to use it properly. Over time, this condition can accelerate hardening and narrowing (atherosclerosis) of the coronary arteries. This results in coronary artery disease.

People who have diabetes are 4 times more likely to have coronary artery disease than people who do not have diabetes.1 People who have diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to die from coronary artery disease than people who do not have diabetes.2

Recommended Related to Diabetes

How a 'Diabetes Diet' Protects Your Health

If you have diabetes, a healthy diet does more than keep your blood sugar under better control. A good diabetes diet can also help prevent or delay the onset of complications such as nerve pain or heart disease. Although some people talk about a "diabetes diet," there's really no such thing, experts say. The same healthy diet recommended for those without diabetes will help you if you have diabetes, too. You may need to then tailor the meal plan to your specific needs, such as lowering your cholesterol...

Read the How a 'Diabetes Diet' Protects Your Health article > >

If you have diabetes and coronary artery disease, you can help lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke by managing your diabetes and having a healthy lifestyle, which includes being active, taking medicines to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and not smoking.3

Citations

  1. Greenland P, et al. (2010). 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(25): e50–e103.

  2. Roger VL, et al. (2011). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 Update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 125(1) e2–e220.

  3. Smith SC, et al. (2011). AHA/ACCF secondary prevention and risk reduction therapy for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation, 124(22): 2458–2473.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised April 6, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

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Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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