The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart!

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), recently printed an important article titled, “Taking Care of Your Diabetes Means Taking Care of Your Heart – Diabetes and Heart Disease”. It focuses on the healthcare facts regarding the serious concerns that individuals face who have diabetes and their greater chance of having heart disease and related heart problems. As such, taking care of your diabetes can also help you take care of your heart.

As shared in the article, there are several key action points on what you can do now to be proactive in your own diabetes care, as well as for your loved ones if they have diabetes. Take a minute to review these important healthcare tips from the NIDDK:

Ask your health care team these questions:

•  What can I do to lower my chances of getting heart disease?

•  What should my goals be for A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol?

•  What can I do to reach these goals?

•  Should I take medicine that can protect my heart such as aspirin or a statin?

Eat well.

•  Eat foods that are high in fiber such as whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice,

lentils, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

•  Eat foods with heart-healthy fats such as fish, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

•  Eat foods low in saturated and transfats such as lean meat, chicken without the

skin, fish, and non-fat or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.

•  Use oils when cooking food instead of butter, cream, shortening, lard, or stick


•  Limit desserts such as cookies and ice cream to only 1 or 2 times a week.

•  Eat smaller amounts of foods that are high in fat, sugar, or salt. For example, if you

want french fries, order the kid-sized portion.

•  Bake, broil, or grill food instead of frying.

•  Do not add salt to food.

Stop smoking.

•  Ask for help or call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

Be active.

•  Be active for 30 minutes or more each day. It’s okay to be active for 10 minutes at a

time, 3 times a day.

•  Walk, dance, swim, or ride a bike.

Take your medicine.

•  Take medicines the way your doctor or health care team tells you to.

•  Do not stop taking your medicines until you talk to your doctor.

•  Ask your pharmacist or doctor any questions you have about your medicines.

Cope with stress as best you can.

•  Ask for help if you feel down. Talk to a mental health counselor, member of the

clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns.

•  Tell your family members and friends how they can best help and support you.


In summary, please take away these key things to remember regarding these two diseases:

•  Heart disease can be a serious health problem for people with diabetes.

•  Taking care of your diabetes means you have less chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

•  Talk to your health care team and ask questions about how best to take care of your heart.

•  Eat well, be active, learn how to cope with stress, and take your medicine.

•  Stop smoking. Ask for help or call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

•  Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.

•  Use your diabetes care record to write down your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers.