35 | Winter 2016
iabetes occurs when our bodies fail to
use blood sugar (glucose) effectively. Type
2 diabetes is the most common form,
accounting for up to 95 percent of diagnosed
cases in adults. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most
common cause of death among adults with diabetes.
Tips for Controlling CVD Risk
LIVE YOUR BEST LIFESTYLE
Lifestyle factors are key to managing CVD risk in
those with diabetes. Proper nutrition, physical activity and
weight management are the basics, as usual.
The types of exercise may be as important as
the amount of exercise in diabetes. A randomized,
controlled trial of 262 sedentary people with diabetes
demonstrated that those who combined resistance and
aerobic training had lower glucose measurements than
others who either didn’t exercise, did only resistance
training or only aerobic training.
Fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and reduced
saturated fat should be emphasized for those with diabetes.
Individualized medical nutritional therapy that focuses on
calories and carbohydrates is also recommended. There is
evidence that the DASH, Mediterranean, low-fat or modified-carbohydrate diets were effective in controlling blood sugar
and lowering CVD risk. People with diabetes often have
trouble with higher triglycerides (fats in the blood) and lower
HDL (good) cholesterol. As a result, they should limit alcohol,
eat less saturated and trans fats and eat less added sugar.
Practicing the dietary and physical activity
recommendations is the best way to achieve a healthy
weight. Restricting calories and increasing daily physical
activity, including regular aerobic activity three to five days
a week, are practical and proven steps to losing pounds.
There is also evidence that self-monitoring by weighing more
often is associated with better weight loss and maintenance.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack,
stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and eye problems. It is
recommended that most people with diabetes maintain
a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. Following
the lifestyle recommendations for nutrition and physical
activity may help keep blood pressure under control. The
American Heart Association recommends a daily sodium
intake of no more than 1,500 mg as well.
Lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol decreases CVD risk in
diabetes patients. People with diabetes should have their
cholesterol checked at least once a year. Lifestyle changes
— eating less saturated and trans fat, losing weight, eating
more dietary fiber and being active — are recommended.
These lifestyle changes, especially weight reduction,
have been shown to improve most components of the
cholesterol profile in diabetes patients.
It is recommended that all patients between 40 and 75
with diabetes and LDL-C levels between 70 and 189 mg/
dL should be treated with a statin.
BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Though important for other reasons, blood glucose
control itself provides only a modest reduction in major
CVD outcomes and no significant effect on death rates.
Treating other risk factors resulted in greater benefits to
CVD risk for diabetes patients.
Excerpted and adapted from Controlling Your Risk When You Have
Diabetes, from Heart Insight Spring 2016.
Helping People with Type 2
Diabetes Control CVD Risk