Cardiovascular Disease Screening and Management
Diabetes and cardiovascular disease
You've probably heard that people with diabetes are at risk of multiple health complications, including cardiovascular disease. As it turns out, cardiovascular disease is especially common among people with diabetes: The majority of people with type 2 diabetes will eventually develop it.
Though most have heard of cardiovascular disease, few understand exactly what it involves. Doctors use the term "cardiovascular disease" to describe many conditions affecting blood circulation in the body:
What causes cardiovascular disease?
Most people associate cardiovascular disease with obesity, but another strong risk factor is age. Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease increases at age 40, but is highest after age 70.
People with diabetes are two to four times more likely than others to develop cardiovascular disease. Because this risk is so high, cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death in people with diabetes.
Seek medical attention if…
How is cardiovascular disease detected?
If your doctors suspect cardiovascular disease, they will first look to your family medical history for more insight. Did your mother, father or siblings have heart trouble? Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is higher if you have family members with the disease. Other risk factors include bad cholesterol, obesity and diabetes.
Doctors use a variety of tests to detect cardiovascular disease. A routine blood test can reveal whether you have high levels of "c-reactive protein--a marker that you’re at higher risk. An EKG will reveal whether the heart’s electrical activity is normal.
If it's not, a stress test on a treadmill, for example, will provide further information that may lead to diagnosis. If you are not able to walk on a treadmill, your doctor may "stress" your heart by injecting medications through an IV. This medicine can cause the heart to beat fast and mimic the stress of exercise. Some people will be asked to have an echocardiogram, which provides pictures of the heart to reveal how well the muscles of the heart can squeeze and pump blood.
Protect your heart!
If your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is high, now is the time for action. You can reduce your risk, starting today, by making the following lifestyle changes.
Ask your doctor to help you:Quit smoking.
Reviewed by Dr. Rita R. Kalyani and Dr. Mark D. Corriere from the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.