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Questioning Diabetic Heart Disease Risk

WebMD Health News

April 18, 2002 -- It's been widely thought that people with diabetes were as likely to have heart problems as someone who had already had a heart attack. Now, a group of Scottish researchers says that's not true.

In their two studies, the researchers examined the hospital records of more than 4,600 people with type 2 diabetes and 8,700 people who had already had a heart attack. Type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed in adults, as opposed to type 1, which is usually noticed during childhood.

Heart disease is seen more in diabetics than in the general population, but the researchers wanted to find out how the risk of a heart attack compared with people who were known to already have heart disease.

The researcher's findings? Patients with type 2 diabetes were less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease than patients who had previously had a heart attack, according to lead author Josie M.M. Evans, MPH, PhD, epidemiologist at the University of Dundee, Scotland.

The researchers aren't saying that diabetics shouldn't be concerned about their risk of heart disease. On the contrary, people with diabetes need to continue to be vigilant about controlling their blood sugar, their weight, and their cholesterol to prevent heart problems.

However, this study does show that the risk may not be quite as great as once suspected.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

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.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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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