Your health questions answered: Heart care for a father with diabetes

You ask. OHSU health experts answer. This National Men’s Health Week, one of our cardiovascular experts is on the hot seat.

We know that facing a heart condition can be difficult for patient and families, and that getting the right information can provide peace of mind. With Father’s Day on the horizon, a recent question to our providers about care for a father with diabetes is especially timely.

Q: My father has diabetes but is in good health. His cholesterol is a little high. Should I be worried?

Diabetics suffer from heart disease and stroke at twice the rate of everyone else. Due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), diabetics are less likely to9482286976_39caaeebd8_z feel the symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain. That said, they can control their risk of heart disease by monitoring blood sugar and lipid levels (blood fats, including cholesterol). A cardiologist can also watch for high lipid levels and atherosclerosis, (hardening of the arteries), which are precursors to heart disease.

Like all diabetics, your father should also avoid smoking, engage in regular exercise, lose excess weight, and consume a diet high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, fatty fish and whole grains, and low in processed sugars for a lower risk of heart disease and increased quality of life.

For more information, contact the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute’s Center for Preventive Cardiology.

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Chadderdon_S_08Dr. Scott Chadderdon is a cardiologist at the OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute focused on caring for adults with heart disease and diabetes.

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