Diabetics run a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease,
because diabetes impacts risk factors like high
blood pressure and high cholesterol.

If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, take our Risk Assessment Test below.

Take the risk assessment test

What is diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar. Diabetes is a condition in which your body either can’t produce insulin, or isn’t able to properly utilize the insulin it produces. It is a chronic and often debilitating disease which in some cases is fatal.

Sugar is the body’s source of energy, but insulin is required to make that energy source usable, helping glucose (sugar) from the food you eat get into your cells to be used as energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in your blood, not reaching your cells. Glucose in the blood is what causes health issues like damage to organs, blood vessels, and nerves.

Diabetes currently has no cure, but there are steps you can take to manage it and maintain and high quality of life.


Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes means your body does not produce insulin, caused by the immune system attacking and destroying the pancreatic cells that make it.

Though type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, usually occurring around middle-age or older. Type 2 diabetes means your body does not make or use insulin well.

With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing some insulin, but either not enough, or the body’s cells are resistant to it. This insulin resistance happens in fat, liver, and muscle cells.


Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term that includes all heart and circulatory diseases, such as angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack,
congenital heart disease, hypertension, stroke and vascular dementia. Other types of cardiovascular disease include heart valve disease and cardiomyopathy.


Diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar. Diabetes is a condition in which your body either can’t produce insulin, or isn’t able to properly utilize the insulin it produces. It is a chronic and often debilitating disease which in some cases is fatal.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Type 1 diabetes means your body does not produce insulin, caused by the immune system attacking and destroying the pancreatic cells that make it.

Though type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day.

High cholesterol and triglycerides

Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, usually occurring around middle-age or older. Type 2 diabetes means your body does not make or use insulin well.

With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing some insulin, but either not enough, or the body’s cells are resistant to it. This insulin resistance happens in fat, liver, and muscle cells.

Obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and has strong ties to insulin resistance. Weight loss can reduce the cardiovascular risk and improve insulin resistance.

A lack of physical activity

A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Exercise can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.


Did you know?

People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without diabetes Having type 2 diabetes puts you at the same risk of heart attack as those who have had a prior heart attack People with diabetes can experience a heart attack without knowing it Stroke occurs twice as often in those with both diabetes and high blood pressure versus high blood pressure alone Mini-strokes (Transient Ischemic Attacks) occur 2-6 times more in people with diabetes For each risk factor present (see below), the risk of cardiovascular disease is 3 times greater in those with diabetes versus those without


Risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Diabetes

High cholesterol

High levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in blood)

Genetic background (if parents or siblings have had cardiovascular disease at a premature age)

High blood pressure (Hypertension)

High alcohol consumption

Insulin resistance

Age (men over 45 and women over 55)

Gender (men have a higher risk)

Menopause – risk increases after menopause

Obesity – excess body fat especially around the waist area

A lack of physical activity

Smoking

A - A1c

Monitor and keep your glucose levels on track, about 7% or less

B - Blood Pressure

Control your blood pressure - aim for 130/80 mmHg

C – Cholesterol

Try to keep your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) to less than 2.0 mmol/L or less and raise your HDL (“good” cholesterol) to over 40

D - Drugs

To protect your heart, follow instructions from your doctor on any medication usage

E - Exercise

2.5 hours per week of regular exercise at a moderate or vigorous level promotes better health. This should include both cardio workouts and resistance training

Smoking

Quit smoking. Smoking is directly related to blood pressure and atherosclerosis

Stress

Reduce and manage stress effectively. Techniques like yoga, mindfulness, and getting more sleep can all help. Reducing stress reduces inflammation, which is directly associated with both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, take our Risk Assessment Test below.

Take the risk assessment test