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Cardiovascular disease a major risk for those diagnosed with diabetes
AUGUSTA – Diabetes, which affects nearly 24 million Americans, could be considered a gateway disease. Those who have diabetes are more likely to have kidney disease, dental disease, amputations, blindness and nerve damage. Even more troubling is the high rate of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure in diabetics.
The cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes is especially great for those with diabetes, said Ian Herskowitz, M.D., an endocrinologist who practices at University Hospital, because of the inflammatory effect glucose has on blood vessels.
“It can contribute to vascular disease and increase the risk of lipid plaques, which cause blockages to build up,” he said. “It’s like a premature aging of the blood vessels.”
To help raise awareness of the correlation between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the National Diabetes Education Program has created a campaign designed to spotlight the need to control your “ABCs” of diabetes – A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Keeping these three numbers under control can help reduce much of the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Know Your Numbers
A for the A1C test (A-one-C)
It shows you what your blood glucose has been over the last three months. The A1C goal for most people is below 7. High blood glucose levels can harm your heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet and eyes.
B for Blood pressure
The goal for most people is 130/80.
High blood pressure makes your heart work too hard. It can cause heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
C for Cholesterol. (ko-LES-ter-ol)
The LDL goal for most people is less than 100.
The HDL goal for most people is above 40.
LDL or "bad" cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. It can cause a heart attack or a stroke. HDL or "good" cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from your blood vessels.