Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease tend to have a lot of overlap, especially in regard to their risk factors. Lifestyle choices that consist of unhealthy eating habits, inactivity, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, and being overweight are major contributors to the development of both.1 But there’s a link between the two diseases that goes beyond correspondence in cause and plays a large part in the treatment of each.
Cardiovascular disease is very common in patients with T2DM; in fact, they’re 2 to 4 times more at risk for heart disease than people who do not have T2DM.2
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and poor blood sugar control are all risk factors for heart disease, and, unfortuntately, all three of these risk factors are often present in people with T2DM.3 That is why researchers suggest that treatment for T2DM should also focus on the long-term effects of heart disease.4 Approaching T2DM with cardiovascular complications in mind could lead to more meticulous and effective treatment for each disease. If you have T2DM, talk to your healthcare team to construct a treatment plan to reduce your risk of heart disease. Taking your diabetes medication, maintaining a healthy weight, getting plenty of exercise, not smoking, and getting your doctor to help find effective ways to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol all add up to a strong start. You might also need a referral for a cardiologist to make sure your heart health is healthy.
- Harvard T.H. CHAN School of Public Health site. Diabetes. https://www.hsph.harvard. edu/nutritionsource/disease-prevention/diabetes-prevention/#types. Accessed 17 Dec 2019.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Diabetes and heart disease. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Health Web site. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/ diabetes/diabetes-and-heart-disease. Published 2019. Accessed 11 Nov 2019.
- American Heart Association site. Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. 30 Aug 2015. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/why-diabetes-matters/ cardiovascular-disease–diabetes. Accessed November 11, 2019.
- Martín-Timón I, Sevillano-Collantes C, Segura-Galindo A, et al. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: have all risk factors the same strength? World J Diabetes. 2014;5(4):444–470. NHR