Diabetes Heart Disease

My Heart Matters: The Connection Between Diabetes And Heart Disease

Throughout the years, I have gone from a competitive athlete to a good rec league player, and now find myself doing very little physical activity paired with a diet that is almost too embarrassing to talk about. Between shift work, kids’ activities and a busy extra-curricular schedule, there are a lot of factors I could blame this drop on, but the truth is that it is almost 100% laziness on my part and that’s something I have resolved to work on in 2018.

It wasn’t until recently that I really started feeling the effects of what I’ve done to my body over the years. Extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, sore muscles even with no activity. It has been a strain on my life and has been affecting my time with my family. Even with the threat of type 2 diabetes creeping in, I have still managed to let things go way too far. I’m guessing those suffering from the disease would give me a good slap, especially considering approximately one in two people with type 2 diabetes will die of heart disease (which includes heart attack, heart failure and stroke). According to new research, almost half of Canadians, myself included, were unaware of this connection and therefore their risk.

Let’s do this, more as an exercise to scare myself into shape, but also so that you can understand just how serious type 2 diabetes can be. Here are just a few of the stats I read about on the website My Heart Matters, and only as it pertains to the link between diabetes and heart health.

– People with type 2 diabetes can also experience heart problems such as heart attack and heart failure.
Studies show that people with diabetes may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes, but only 50 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes are aware of this fact.
47% of Canadians with type 2 diabetes believe there are no medications that control blood sugar levels and heart disease, while there are diabetes treatments that can reduce the risk of having a heart-related event or dying from heart disease.
While controlling blood sugar is important in managing diabetes, it may not be enough to protect the heart. The good news is that recent advances have been made in managing the risk of death from heart disease in people with diabetes.
People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized for heart health problems than people without diabetes.
While 96 per cent of Canadians with type 2 diabetes see their doctor at least once a year, many are not having conversations about their risk of heart disease.
Only 38 per cent of Canadians with diabetes are aware that heart disease is the number one cause of death for those with diabetes.

Every one of those is a sobering fact and my hope is that it’s enough to get me moving before I have to start really worrying about it. Knowing that type 2 diabetes is something that can be avoided is definitely a motivating factor and while I likely won’t document my entire journey to health, I can guarantee that it will be taking place.

For those already dealing with type 2 diabetes, when they understand the risks that come with diabetes they are better positioned to take preventative steps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Canadians living with diabetes have plans for the future, which include improving their health & lifestyle (73 per cent); travelling & exploring (61 per cent) and spending more time with children or grandchildren (36 per cent), so it’s critical that they speak with their doctor about steps they can take to help manage their risk of heart disease.

You can read more about the links between type 2 diabetes and heart disease by visiting the My Heart Matters website and taking a simple assessment to learn your risk of type 2 diabetes-related heart disease. It may be uncomfortable for you, but it’s far better than the alternative for ignoring it.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by an alliance of two of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies . I was compensated for my time in writing about this important topic.