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Tips for Heart-Healthy Living With Diabetes

C is for Cholesterol and Diabetes continued...

How Can You Improve Your Cholesterol?

You can lower your cholesterol and your chance of heart disease by making changes in what you eat and how active you are. Eat a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables. Make other foods that are low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol, and high in whole-grain fiber, a big part of your diet. Lose weight if you need to, and get regular exercise. If that's not enough to get your cholesterol to healthy levels and your doctor determines you are at a high risk of future heart attacks or heart disease, your doctor may prescribe a drug to help you reach your goal.

Improve Your ABCs With Heart-Healthy Living

Your doctor will likely advise you to eat well and exercise most days to help manage your ABCs. These tips can help you get there:

  • Watch Your Blood Sugar: Keep clear records of your blood sugar levels. Write down anything that may have affected your blood sugar. Then you can see how diet, exercise, and any drugs you take affect your readings. Talk to your doctor or diabetes team about what you can do to improve your blood sugar control.
  • Control Your Weight: If you're overweight, lose weight by eating healthier. Get more exercise to help control your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Get Moving: Do 30 to 60 minutes of combined aerobic and strength training exercises, such as brisk walking or lifting weights, on most days. Even without weight loss, being active helps your diabetes control.
  • Eat Healthy: Fill your plate with lots of fruits and vegetables. Choose foods low in salt and sugar. Eat plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal. Choose heart-healthy fats such as olive and canola oil, fatty fish, nuts, and avocados. If you drink, do it in moderation.
  • Take Drugs as Prescribed: Take your diabetes drugs exactly as your doctor advises, even when you feel healthy.
  • Quit Smoking: If you're a smoker, get help to quit. Try a smoking cessation program to boost your chance of success.
  • Get Support: Ask your family and friends to help you stick to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 03, 2015
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