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Heart Disease and Diabetes

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How Is Heart Disease Treated in Those With Diabetes?

There are several treatment options for heart disease in those with diabetes, depending on the severity of the heart disease, including:

  • Aspirin therapy* to reduce the risks of clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Diet.
  • Exercise not only for weight loss, but to improve blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and to decrease abdominal fat, a risk factor of heart disease.
  • Medicines.
  • Surgery.

How Is Peripheral Vascular Disease Treated?

Peripheral vascular disease is treated by:

  • Participation in a regular walking program (45 minutes per day, followed by rest)
  • Special footwear
  • Aiming for an A1c below 7%
  • Lowering your blood pressure to less than 130/80
  • Geting your cholesterol to below 100
  • Aspirin therapy*
  • Medicines
  • Stopping smoking
  • Surgery (in some cases)

*Low-dose aspirin therapy is recommended for men and women with type 2 diabetes who are over age 40 and are at high risk for heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Talk to your doctor to determine if aspirin therapy is right for you. If you have certain medical conditions, aspirin therapy may not be recommended.

How Can Heart Disease Be Prevented in a Person With Diabetes?

The best way to prevent heart disease is to take good care of yourself and your diabetes.

  • Keep your blood sugar as normal as possible.
  • Control your blood pressure, with medication if necessary. The target for people with diabetes is under 130/80.
  • Get your cholesterol numbers under control. You may need to take medication to do this.
  • Lose weight if you are obese.
  • Ask your doctor if you should take an aspirin a day.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet low in fat and salt.
  • Quit smoking.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on June 25, 2013
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