While cardiovascular disease remains the nation’s top killer, many times it is diabetes contributing to heart disease and death.
“If your body mass index is over 25, you’re considered overweight. And certainly a body mass index over 30 is considered obese. Those tend to be risk factors to develop other medical problems such as diabetes, which then could leave to cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Elizabeth Cosmai-Cintron. She is a cardiologist on medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.
A recent review found a major drop in diabetes complications in the past two decades, including heart attacks, which are down 70%. It is thought a combination of early stage diagnosis and better management is resulting in better outcomes for patients.
“There’s large studies that indicate if they can improve their blood sugar control they can significantly reduce their risk of developing diabetes complications,” says Sharon Krispinski, a diabetes educator with Lee Memorial Health System.
Living complication free takes work. Keeping tabs on blood sugar is a start. It’s also important to monitor cholesterol, vision, kidney function even circulation.
“With diabetes you’re at increase risk for foot infections. One reason is neuropathy which is nerve damage related to the diabetes,” says Krispinski. “Another reason is that you might not have adequate blood flow going to the feet.”
Which many times resulted in amputation, a complication that dropped by 50% along with stroke. Kidney failure and hyperglycemic deaths are down too. Doctors are doing their best to educate and intervene.
“The modifiable risk factors include things like trying to reduce diabetes occurrence. And certainly controlling diabetes better,” says Dr. Cosmai-Cintron.
Taking diabetes care to heart is saving patients life and limb.