Looking after your cardiovascular health
When you have diabetes, you’re more at risk of heart disease. This is also called cardiovascular disease (CVD) or coronary disease and can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Cardiovascular disease affects your circulation too. And poor circulation makes other diabetes complications worse – like problems with your eyes and feet. Diabetes UK have put together a video to explain how this works
You can help prevent your risk of heart disease by looking after your:
•blood sugar levels
•cholesterol (blood fats)
Annual CVD Risk Check
These checks are carried out at your annual reviews which means you should have it as part of your diabetes care and it’s free on the NHS. Managing these will help to manage your diabetes and protect yourself against heart complications. This check will usually be carried out at your GP surgery.
If you have any chest pain or pain when walking – call 999 straight away. These could be signs of a heart attack.
Stopping Smoking will reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases
Smoking makes it harder for blood to flow around your body, especially to your heart. Diabetes UK provides useful information to help you quit. If you need help stopping, ask your healthcare team, they may be able to offer support or refer you to a service that can.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet to protect your heart
If you are living with obesity or overweight, get support to help you lose some weight. Even losing a small amount can make a real difference.
Why weight matters – type 1 diabetes:
•Although getting type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with weight, losing any extra weight will help you reduce your risk of complications and could mean injecting less insulin.
•If you have type 1 diabetes, when you start taking insulin, you might start to put on weight. There are lots of reasons for this, like how much insulin you take, your diet and the type of insulin you’re taking.
Why weight matters – type 2 diabetes:
•If you have obesity, you are more likely to put your diabetes into remission if you lose a larger amount of weight, like 15kg (or 2 stone 5lbs), as quickly and safely as possible following your diagnosis.
•This could mean coming off your diabetes medication completely – a life-changing possibility, which is even more likely if you lose the weight nearer to your diagnosis and quickly.
Be physically active and do some regular exercise.
•Take your medication as prescribed. Some medicines help to protect your heart by reducing high blood pressure or blood fats and you may take these even if you don’t have any blood pressure problems or high blood fats.
•If you already have diabetes, the sections: Helping you to live well, Helping you to be active and Helping you to manage your weight may still be useful to you, further information and support for you is provided in the Living with diabetes sections: Learning, Services and Insulin and blood glucose
•Eat a healthy, balanced diet to protect your heart. If you are living with obesity or overweight, get support to help you lose some weight. Even losing a small amount can make a real difference.