Do You Know Diabetes?

Heart of Diabetes Logo
I keep thinking about the Heart of Diabetes initiative that the American Heart Association has been working on.  The more I think about it, the more I believe in what they are doing.  This is a large national nonprofit organization working very hard to help better overall heart health.

You might think “why is that important here, at diabetesdaily.com?”  – and it is a fair question!  It is important because the statistics around diabetes and heart disease are scary.  Yet many of us don’t really think much about heart health.  I know I don’t give it as much thought as I do the other scary complications.  Yet it is more dangerous AND more likely than all of the other complications.

We talked a bit about why that is, but I’d love to hear all of your thoughts on diabetes and heart disease.  I’m hoping that it will be alright for me to ask some questions here?

1) Do you think about diabetes and heart disease?  If so, how/what?  If not, why not?

2) What do you know about heart disease?  Do you know what routine tests (both lab tests and or other tests) can give you information on your heart health?

3) Have you talked with your doctor about heart disease?  Did you bring it up, or did your doctor?

I have a ton more questions, but this is a good start.  Let’s get some discussion going!  Heart disease is a big deal for us.  It deserves a bit more of our attention!  The folks at AHA have put together a great website called “Heart of Diabetes” aka iknowdiabetes.org, which has a lot of great information.  I encourage you to go check it out.

Their website is focused primarily on type 2 diabetes. I have mixed feelings about that.  For one, it is nice to see a big organization specifying which type of diabetes they are talking about (instead of grouping all of us together).  On the other hand, heart disease is a huge deal for us living with type 1 diabetes as well.  With that in mind, anything that someone with type 2 diabetes does for their heart health (exercise, smarter diet, etc) is also very beneficial for those of us living with type 1.

I also want to touch on something that some might be wondering.  I was hired by the AHA to provide input and feedback on the “Heart of Diabetes” initiative.  I was not hired to blog or promote anything.  I am blogging and promoting because I really feel this is a good thing for us.  You can count on my backing and support, both in terms of feedback and input AND in blogging and promoting them and the program every chance I get.

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11 thoughts on “Do You Know Diabetes?

  1. 1) Do you think about diabetes and heart disease? If so, how/what? If not, why not?
    I think about it occasionally. Mostly when I am heading to a doctor appointment.
    2) What do you know about heart disease? Do you know what routine tests (both lab tests and or other tests) can give you information on your heart health?
    Hmmm. I know that with Type 1, I’m probably going to kick it from heart disease.
    3) Have you talked with your doctor about heart disease? Did you bring it up, or did your doctor?
    Yes, we’ve talked about it. I brought it up… she just came along for the ride.
    PS. Scott, nice job on the A1c!

  2. It’s a delight to see quite reasonable recipes on that site instead of the carb laden rubbish one usually sees. Not that we (T1 & T2) can’t eat carbs but as many of us already know, all kinds of diabetes are much easier to manage without the carb-feast diets that are usually recommended. Mine sure is… and yeah I do have the occasional cake or ice cream – I can with T1 and insulin. But so many with T2 aren’t medicated properly and it’s a terrible struggle for them on high carb diets.
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  3. Great topic of discussion Scottie J!
    You & I have talked about this before, but here’s my two-cents.
    I believe Diabetes and Heart Disease go hand in hand and I have my families history to prove it.
    Both my sisters with Type 1 suffered from heart disease. Debbie- who passed from Diabetes had several heart attacks and strokes.
    My sister Donna, also a type 1, had a quad bypass 5 years ago.
    My father, who was also a type 1, had a heart attack and several angeoplasts. My father and Debbie were not over weight, and Donna, while she has some weight issues, is not obese.
    Does my family history freak me out? You bet your ass it does! But
    my Endo and I work hard to keep history from repeating itself.
    I exercise, have been on an ace inhibitor since my mid twenties and have been on a statin for close to a year now. Thank God I don’t like red meat.
    Do I think the AHA needs to focus on type 1 as well as type 2- ABSOLUTELY! My Endo told me that he automatically treats ALL of his patients (regardless of type 1 or type 2) as heart patients because he’s seen that one does indeed go with the other. He’s an Endo at Jeff, I believe he knows what he’s talking about!
    By being proactive about our heart health, we have the chance others didn’t have in the past to change our heart history for the better.
    After talking to another PWD on twitter-I’ve decided to go for a stress test. Am I scared? Yes I am. But I’m more scared not to.
    Scary or not, knowledge is indeed power!
    Kelly K

  4. They need to focus the heart towards Type 1’s too. My husband has been T1 for 27 years now, and is 31 years old. We’ve been told that we should start preventative heart medications. At 31, it’s a little scary! We’re still so young. But our doctors feels that it’s something that could potentially ward off a heart attack in the future given the years he’s been diabetic, mixed with his gender. Combo for trouble from what we’ve been told. More information in regards to this for Type 1’s would be extremely helpful. Especially in regards to preventative medications. Do they work? Do they not? What’s the prevention rate? These would be helpful to me as someone who’s being told that there will be heart problems down the road.

  5. I am actually doing a journal club around a study that shows the athersclerosis of type 1’s is different than the athersclerosis of type 2’s. The biggest issue (in my mind) is that all the studies that show diabetes as an independent risk factor for heart disease involve type 2’s. There is some evidence that type 1’s with macroalbuminuria are also increased risk, but I have often wondered if I really need to worry about my lipids as I do not have macroalbuminuria, don’t smoke, and have absolutely zero family history of heart disease. This article I am reading is convincing me that I am safe to ignore my lipids for the time being. My provider (NP) is always trying to convince me otherwise, but I figure as long as she’s not getting offensive about it, I just let her have her opinion and me have mine. The study I mentioned above was actually designed with the thought that if we know about specific differences between types of DM as it concerns CAD and the atherosclerotic plaques, we could develop targteted treatments instead of extrapolating from studies involoving primarily type 2’s.

  6. I think anyone with diabetes (either type) who has a family history of heart disease or stroke should be aware – as I am and as my husband is. That’s why I’m so deeply involved in heart disease awareness – both before being part of the Connected Council and especially now.

  7. Considering that a mild heart attack at age 37, which resulted in two stents in a 100% blocked artery, is what got me diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, it is always on my mind. Regular cholesterol tests, stress tests, scans and echos are all part of my routine checkups.
    It is amazing to me that knowing all that I know, I still don’t automatically do all the right things I need to in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  8. Of course my endo does cholesterol and other labwork watching for heart disease but what surprised me was what my opthalmologist told me. He said that one of the reasons that yearly eye examines are important for people with diabetes is that if the small vessels of the eye are in good health, the small vessels of the heart, kidneys, etc are likely in good health. Maybe everyone else already knew this but I found it interesting!

  9. i wish i could be”smart”about this.the fact is i know enough to worry about it.and to have it watched and checked.the docs watch it and i “snitch”on myself if i think something is not right.
    but heres the rub.everyone in my family has the give out.no other
    way.heart attacks all.grand parents uncles aunts and my mom .(though hers was peaceful).i watch my numbers as suggested.
    but deep down i feel that it is genetic and no matter what i achieve its not really going to help.plus i am the only one with d.
    im sure that does not help!!
    so yes i think about it,as im in the age for my family the problems occur.
    yes i get all the routine test,and my numbers are good and getting better
    and with every little unexplainable pain that sends me into paranoia i bring it up!!lol
    the only other thing is i cant really get behind the a.h.a. ignoring t1 s .im very disappointed in that.we have are own set of problems and are getting swallowed up and lost in the “d world” push to be healthy and eat right as it applies to t2s.

  10. Yeah, I know about heart disease. In addition to having a mob of T1’s on my dad’s side, heart disease is rampant (even in those without the db). My dad had his first heart attack at 63 and died at 67. My uncle had a stroke at 61 and died at 65. Another uncle has had sextuple bypass. And the remaining brother had 3 stents.
    Now, my dad has been gone over 20 years. Back then they didn’t have a lot of the fancier drugs to control cholesterol and blood pressure. But because of those, I feel I have a fighting chance.
    My pcp has never mentioned heart disease. Once, I was very impressed when an urgent care doc (4 sitches from a kitchen knife cut) started talking to me about it. Must have been a slow night).