Spring’s around the corner, and it’s a common time for people to recommit to their priorities. Did you set a new fitness goal or plan to make a nutritional lifestyle change? Maybe you want to expand your health knowledge, or need to reassess how you’re managing an existing condition, such as diabetes.
Diabetes or prediabetes impacts one in three Canadians, with research indicating that people 20 years old today have a 50 per cent chance of developing diabetes in their lifetime. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 per cent of all diabetes. Despite high rates of type 2 diabetes, many still don’t know that heart disease is the number one cause of death for Canadians living with the condition.
“When I received my diagnosis that I had type 2 diabetes I knew I really had to make some severe changes to my life,” said Paul from British Columbia, who was diagnosed in 2013. “Now several years later, I realize that taking your health for granted can be so easy, and it’s important to make it a priority.”
That’s why further education is so critical – the more you know, the more potential you have to reduce related health risks. For example, lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet and being physically active may prevent up to 80 per cent of premature cases of heart disease and stroke in people with diabetes. While controlling blood sugar is essential to manage diabetes, experts say that diet and exercise alone may not protect your heart.
“Many patients with type 2 diabetes are not aware that there are medications that control blood sugar levels and lower your risk of cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Shelley Zieroth, heart failure cardiologist and Immediate Past President, Canadian Heart Failure Society. “Although many treatments aim to regulate blood sugar or reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a risk of death from heart disease may remain.”
The good news is that the sooner you understand the risks, the sooner you can take steps to help prevent early death from heart disease.
Canadians with type 2 diabetes should speak to their healthcare providers about treatments that can prevent early death from cardiovascular disease, and visit www.myheartmatters.ca to learn more.