Diabetes: Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke

Diabetes: Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke


Diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease
and strokes. Elevated blood fat levels are very important in the risk for cardiovascular
disease. It’s been shown that more than 80 percent of people with diabetes have elevated
blood fat levels. Here at Joslin we recommend getting a lipid profile once a year to screen
for abnormalities of the blood fats which include: LDL cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol,
HDL cholesterol, or the good cholesterol, and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is the
most important factor in the risk for heart disease and strokes. If you don’t have a history
of prior heart disease, your goal for LDL cholesterol is less than 100. However, if
you do have prior history of heart disease or cardiovascular disease or stroke your goal
is even lower. The LDL cholesterol then should be 70 or below. It has been shown that for
ever 40 point reduction in the LDL cholesterol level, the risk of heart disease can be reduced
by 20 to 30 percent in five years. Once one has achieved the goal for LDL cholesterol,
you should work with your doctor to get your HDL cholesterol in the range of 40 or about
in men and 50 or about in women. In addition the triglyceride levels, another blood fat
which is bad for you, is less than 150. There are several ways to lower the blood fat level
or to achive them in the desirable range. These include diet, exercise, weight reduction
if necessary, blood glucose control, and one of the several medications that are available.
Here at Joslin we’re working on multiple levels in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease.
By keeping the A1C level down and by keeping the blood pressure down, along with keeping
the blood lipid levels in the desirable range, one can substantially reduce the risk of heart
disease.