Type 2 Diabetes & Heart Disease: What's the Connection?

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Playing Type 2 Diabetes & Heart Disease: What’s the Connection?

Sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company

Having either type 2 diabetes or heart disease can be a serious threat to your health. But did you know there is a connection between the two?

Malcolm tells The Doctors he learned his lesson about the connection before it was too late. When he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 15 years ago, he was in denial. As a physical education teacher and soccer coach, he felt healthy. When he broke his leg, doctors discovered he had a blocked artery and his heart issue may have been due to his diabetes. At 60, he is dealing with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. “It’s not always easy to do,” he explains.

Cardiologist Dr. Karol Watson and Malcolm join ER physician Dr. Travis Stork, who says that approximately 29 million Americans are living with diabetes and notes that what Malcolm is experiencing is more common than people realize.

Dr. Watson explains that people with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than are people without diabetes. Dr. Stork shares the troubling fact that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes and according to a new national survey more than half of adults do not understand they are at an increased risk for heart disease due to their diabetes.

Dr. Watson stresses that people with type 2 diabetes must implement and maintain good health habits like proper diet, exercise, monitoring their glucose levels and getting regular checkups.

“Since I found out about the connection, between type 2 diabetes and heart disease, I’ve been doing everything I can to make a positive lifestyle change for myself. After all, I’d really like to meet my grandchildren and have a happy life with my family,” Malcolm shares. “It really isn’t easy and if you’re at risk, you really need to make sure you sit down with your healthcare provider and follow the plan they give you immediately. It’s not just for you – it’s also for the ones you love.”

Dr. Watson recommends that people with type 2 diabetes talk with their doctor early about their risk for heart disease, saying, “The sooner someone knows they have type 2 diabetes, the sooner they can do something about it.” To raise awareness for this important connection, she has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly and Company, who have developed the Heart You Quiz, which can be taken at ForYourSweetHeart.com.

“I always say knowledge is power and this is such an important topic, so much so that I’m also a spokesperson for this campaign to help raise awareness” Dr. Stork adds.