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February's 'Heart Month' Provides Catalyst to Raise Awareness Of Critical Link Between Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke

  [ 110 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • February 10, 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for the 18.2 million Americans with diabetes, yet millions still fail to make the connection between these two life-threatening conditions. During Heart Month, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) are emphasizing that people with diabetes are at significantly heightened risk for heart disease, which affects people with diabetes twice as often as people without diabetes. While most consider kidney complications, blindness, and amputations to be their greatest risks, an alarming 2 out of 3 people with diabetes will die from heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes are also up to four times more likely to suffer a stroke than people without diabetes. "Heart disease is taking a huge toll on people with diabetes, and most people living with the disease do not realize it," said James M. Galloway, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.C., Director, Native American Cardiology Program and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. "If you have diabetes, you are likely to have other health problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol that contribute to an increased risk for heart attacks and stroke. We encourage people with diabetes to work with their health care provider to develop a diabetes treatment plan that helps to reduce their chances for life- threatening complications." The management of blood glucose (sugar) has long been a cornerstone of diabetes care. Yet research has shown that other cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and cholesterol, must also be addressed in order to reduce heart attacks and stroke in patients with diabetes. Furthermore, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed less than 12 percent of people with diabetes meet their appropriate target blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The ADA and ACC are conducting an aggressive education initiative called "Make the Link! Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke" to illustrate the critical link between diabetes and heart disease, as well as emphasize the importance of comprehensive diabetes management. The ADA and ACC recommend that people with diabetes work closely with their health care provider to manage the "ABCs" of diabetes: * A: A1C, the test that measures average blood sugar over the past 3 months, should be less than 7, and checked at least twice a year. * B: Blood pressure should be below 130/80, and measured at every visit. * C: Cholesterol (LDL or "bad") should be below 100, and checked once a year. People with diabetes can manage the ABCs of diabetes with wise food choices, physical activity and medications. Losing weight can also help to keep the ABCs on track and prevent heart disease. It is important for people with diabetes to work with their health care provider to determine what steps they can take to reach their ABC goals. The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. Founded in 1940, the Association has offices in every region of the country, providing services to hundreds of communities. The American College of Cardiology (ACC), a 30,000-member nonprofit professional medical society and teaching institution, is the leading organization dedicated to being an advocate for quality cardiovascular care - through education, research promotion, development and application of standards and guidelines-and to influencing health care policy. The Make the Link! initiative works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) to promote awareness of the ABCs of diabetes through its program, "Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes." More information about this program can be found at To learn more or to receive patient and educational materials on the Make the Link! initiative, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Make the Link! is made possible by generous support from the following sponsors: AstraZeneca LP; Bristol-Myers Squibb Company; Eli Lilly and Company; GlaxoSmithKline; Merck & Co. and Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals; Monarch Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; and Pfizer Inc. SOURCE: American Diabetes Association; American College of Cardiology
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