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Diabetics at higher risk for heart disease

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Diabetics are at a higher risk for many potential complications, including heart disease. The reason for this, points out the American Heart Association (AHA), is they claim diabetics, especially Type 2 diabetics, also normally have high blood pressure, have high triglycerides and abnormal cholesterol, are obese, smoke, have poorly controlled sugar levels and are not physically active.

Do you recall being 16 and wanting a car? You needed the car to get to a job. You needed a job to pay for the car and the insurance and the gas. It was a catch 22. Diabetes is kind of like that.

As a diabetic, you are at risk for high blood pressure, high triglycerides and abnormal cholesterol, and poorly controlled sugar levels as well as heart disease and other issues. However using that catch 22 example, high blood pressure, high triglycerides and abnormal cholesterol, being obese, smoking, and not being physically active, puts you at a higher risk for diabetes.

Heredity plays a role here too for both diabetes and heart disease. A person is at a higher risk of diabetes or heart disease if the parents or sibling has the disease. It is not genetic though. This means just because your parents have diabetes or heart disease, does not mean that you are destined to be diagnosed with either disease.

Heart Testing

Your doctor may order some different tests to determine if your heart is healthy. An EKG, that is an electrocardiogram, may be ordered to measure the electrical activity of your heart. Another test is the electrocardiogram, or echo, which uses sound waves to test the heart. Your doctor will be able to look at the heart’s structure and motion. Your doctor may also order an exercise stress test. The stress test will determine how hard your heart works under stress basically.


Diet and exercise will help manage diabetes and therefore help lower your risk of heart disease. A diet should include foods low in saturated fat and sodium, as well as foods high in fiber. Dairy products should be nonfat or low-fat. A dietitian or a nutritionist should be included on your diabetic health team.

Signs of Heart Disease

The signs of coronary heart disease are angina and a pain in either the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back. The signs of a heart attack are: chest pain, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in feet, ankles or legs are signs of heart failure. Palpitations are a sign of arrhythmia.


This article is not intended to replace the medical advice of your physician. If you are experiencing any of the signs of diabetes, make an appointment with your physician.

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Lancaster City is located in South Central Pennsylvania. Home to over 60,000 people, it is the County Seat. Do you have an upcoming event or information that would interest the Lancaster community? If so, please email Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman at

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