Do you know someone who has type 2 diabetes? I’m fairly confident your answer will be yes. I realize this because, like many of you, I know several people with this disease.
Maybe it’s your mom or dad, or an aunt or uncle or it could be your brother, sister or best friend. What I do know for certain is this; when it comes to type 2 diabetes, even one is too many.
Why is it One is Too Many?
- One is too many because approximately one in two Canadians with type 2 diabetes will die from some form of heart disease (which includes heart attack, heart failure, and stroke).
- One is too many because too many mothers that won’t see their children have children.
- One is too many grandfathers who won’t make it to their grandkids’ hockey game.
- One is too many families that will be forever changed.
The good news is with more knowledge and recent advances in treatment, this number can be reduced.
The not so good news is, research shows that many Canadians with diabetes are unaware of the heart-related risks their disease brings. According to the My Heart Matters Survey there is also a very worrisome knowledge deficit among Canadians with diabetes.
- Most Canadians with type 2 diabetes (93 per cent) feel they are knowledgeable about their disease management, but one in two have no idea their diabetes alone significantly increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
- More than half (56 per cent) don’t know or don’t believe heart disease is the most common cause of death among adults with type 2 diabetes.
- Studies show that people with diabetes may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes, but only 54 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes are aware of this fact.
- Forty-one per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes believe there are no medications that control blood sugar levels and heart disease. However, there are diabetes treatments that can reduce the risk of a heart-related event or dying from heart disease.
The reality is, even one life lost to type 2 diabetes is one too many. If you have type 2 diabetes and a history of heart disease, controlling your blood sugar alone may not be enough. But, there are medications that – along with diet and exercise – have been proven to lower the risk of dying from problems related to your heart and blood vessels. The sooner you understand your risk, the sooner you can do something about it. That’s why it’s critical that people living with type 2 diabetes understand the risks that come with this disease.
Diabetes Canada recommends that people with diabetes ask their doctor about the ABCDEs, a set of important tips 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 per cent 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 – Aim for your LDL cholesterol to be less than 2.0 mmol/L
D – Drugs to protect your heart – Speak with your doctor about medication options to help reduce the risk of heart disease
E – Exercise – Regular physical activity, which includes a healthy diet, achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight
S – Screening for complications – Ensure you’re tested regularly for possible complications with your heart, feet, and kidneys
S – Smoking cessation – Look into ways to reduce or stop smoking
S – Self-management – Manage stress effectively
It’s extremely important for Canadians with diabetes to be reminded to prioritize their health and understand that their diabetes can put them at risk for other conditions, most commonly heart disease.
Remember, One Is Too Many! Knowledge of the connection between diabetes and heart disease can be life-saving. If you have type 2 diabetes, speak with your doctor about steps you can take to help manage your risk of heart disease and visit myheartmatters.ca to learn more. You can also complete the Risk Assessment Tool to find out your risk of type 2 diabetes-related heart disease.
Disclaimer – This content was sponsored by the Boehringer Ingelheim-Lilly Canada Diabetes Alliance, but opinions are my own.