LSU AgCenter Nutritionist Explains Link Between Diabetes And Heart Disease

Elizabeth S. Reames  |  10/29/2005 12:46:27 AM

News You Can Use For November 2005

November is American Diabetes Month. This year the American Diabetes Association together with the American College of Cardiology are working to increase awareness of the link between diabetes and heart disease.

Through an initiative called "Make the Link! Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke," the organizations are urging people with diabetes to learn how they can lower their chances for heart disease and stroke.

LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames says people with diabetes are at high risk for coronary artery (heart) disease, heart attack or a stroke. Their heart attacks tend to be more serious and can happen early in life. Two of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. Both women and men are at risk.

Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease and is caused by a narrowing or blocking of the blood vessels that go to the heart. The blood carries oxygen and other needed materials to the heart. Blood vessels to the heart can become partially or totally blocked by fatty deposits. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is reduced or cut off.

Reames says that besides controlling blood glucose levels, diabetes management also includes managing blood pressure and cholesterol. People with diabetes should talk to their health care providers to learn about other ways to reduce their chance for heart attacks and stroke.

"Lifestyle changes, such as choosing foods wisely and being physically active, as well as taking medication, can help," Reames advises, adding, "Losing weight can also help prevent heart disease."

The LSU AgCenter’s Diabetes Education Awareness Recommendation Program and Portions Healthy Weight Program provide information on healthful eating, physical activity recommendations and lifestyle habits. For information about these programs or about eating healthfully using the Food Guide Pyramid, contact the LSU AgCenter extension agent in your parish.

For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com

Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929, or breames@agcenter.lsu

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