OHSU

Diabetics and Heart Disease

Dr. Kaul and Dr. AhmannAsk the Heart Expert

Question

I am a diabetic. Should I be concerned about heart disease?

Answer

Heart disease and stroke are the top enemies of those suffering from diabetes. In fact, diabetics are struck by heart disease and stroke at two times the rate of the rest of the population. Due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage), you will be less likely to feel the symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain. Yet, you can control the risk by receiving comprehensive health care that incorporates both blood sugar and lipid control (blood fats including cholesterol ). Under the watchful eye of a cardiologist, you can be monitored for high lipid levels and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which are precursors to heart

disease.
In the OHSU Heart & Diabetes Clinic, we couple aggressive lipid-lowering therapy with lifestyle modifications for whole body health. During your visit, you will consult with both an expert cardiologist and endocrinologist from the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, who will collaborate on the best health care plan for you.

Ask Dr. Kaul and Dr. Ahmann your heart disease and diabetes questionsYou can also take preventive measures to keep blood sugar and lipids in check. Avoid smoking and engage in regular exercise. And, lose excess weight, which can decrease blood cholesterol levels. You should also consume a diet high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, fatty fish and whole grains, and low in processed sugars. These combined efforts will lessen your risk of heart disease and increase your quality of life.