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Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart

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Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart

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Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart

This patient education sheet explains the link between diabetes and heart disease. It encourages patients to work with their health care team to set targets and manage their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It includes a record form to track target numbers.

Last reviewed: 09/01/2014


If you have diabetes, it’s even more important to take care of your heart and blood vessels. Having diabetes means you are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. You can lower your risk if you manage your diabetes.

You can live a long and healthy life by managing your blood sugar (glucose), blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage vital organs such as your kidneys and your eyes. High blood pressure is a serious disease that makes your heart work too hard. And bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your heart and blood vessels. Managing all three means a longer and healthier life.


Ask Your Health Care Provider These Questions

  • What are my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers?
  • What should they be?
  • What actions should I take to reach these goals?

Use the Diabetes Record Form to write down the answers to these questions.


Take Action Now

You can live longer for your family, improve your health, and reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke.

  • Eat the right amounts of foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
  • Eat foods that are prepared with less salt, saturated fat, and trans fat.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Stay at a healthy weight—by being active and eating the right amounts of healthy foods.
  • Stop smoking—seek help.
  • Take medicines the way your doctor tells you to.
  • Ask your doctor about taking medicine to protect your heart, such as asprin or a statin.
  • Ask your family and friends to help you take care of your heart and your diabetes.

Diabetes Record Form

Take care of your heart by taking care of your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Use this form to keep track of your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers when you visit your doctor. Work with your provider, friends, and family to reach your goals

BLOOD SUGAR

The A1C test—short for hemoglobin A-1-C—is a simple blood test of your average blood over the last three months.

Goal for many people: Below 7 on the A1C test. My goal is _____

Note: People who often have low blood sugar or who have had a heart attack or are at high risk for a heart attack may need a higher A1C goal.

TEST AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR

Date / Result///
Actions I can take

BLOOD PRESSURE

High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard.

Your blood pressure goal should be below 140/90 unless your doctor helps you set a different goal. My goal is _____

CHECK AT EVERY VISIT

Date / Result///
Actions I can take

CHOLESTEROL

Bad cholesterol, or LDL, builds up and clogs your heart.

Ask what your cholesterol numbers should be. My goal is _____

TEST AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR

Date / Result///
Actions I can take


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