The Relationship Between Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease


Although I am not a huge fan of the cold and snow, February is actually one of my favourite months of the year. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is now a distant memory and I have lots of time to reflect and make plans for the coming year.

I find this is a great time to reconnect with priorities and invest in yourself, especially when it comes to staying healthy.  February is also Heart Month, which is the perfect time to think about your future by protecting your heart health. This is especially true if you have type 2 diabetes.

Heart Disease

Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for Canadians living with type 2 diabetes?

Many people don’t, but here are some staggering facts:

  • Type 2 diabetes can reduce your life expectancy by as much as 15 years.
  • Eighty percent of Canadians with diabetes will die from heart disease.

If you have type 2 diabetes and a history of heart disease, diet and exercise may not be enough to protect your heart. Thankfully though, there is help available and being proactive is key!

Heart Disease

According to Diabetes Canada, the “pillars of cardiovascular protection” are diet, exercise, medication, smoking cessation, and stress reduction. By following these pillars you will also help regulate other factors such as elevated blood pressure and cholesterol.

Diabetes Canada recommends that people with diabetes ask their doctor about the ABCDEs that may help reduce their risk of heart disease.

  • ABCDEs to reduce the risk:
    • A – A1C: Control blood glucose levels and keep A1C around 7 percent or less. A1C is a blood test that is an index of the average blood glucose level over the last 120 days
    • B – Blood pressure: Keep blood pressure to less than 130/80 mmHg
    • C – Cholesterol – LDL (bad) cholesterol target is 2.0 mmol/L or less
    • D – Drugs to protect your heart – Speak with your doctor about medication options to help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke
    • E – Exercise – Regular physical activity, along with a healthy diet, and achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight
    • S – Smoking and stress – Avoid smoking and manage stress effectively.

There is a worrisome knowledge deficit among Canadians with diabetes. Most Canadians with type 2 diabetes (93 percent) feel they are knowledgeable about their disease management, but one in two don’t know their diabetes alone significantly increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

Heart Disease

If you’re living with type 2 diabetes, it is important to take an active role in investing in the protection of your heart.  Know that you can help prevent an early death with medications that lower your risk of dying from heart disease, saving you precious time to spend doing what you love with the people you love.

If you have type 2 diabetes speak with your doctor about steps you can take to help manage your risk of heart disease and be sure to visit to learn more.

Disclaimer – This content was sponsored by the Boehringer Ingelheim-Lilly Canada Diabetes Alliance, but opinions are my own.


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