West Chester Hospital

7700 University Drive, West Chester, OH 45069 | 513-298-3000

Reducing Your Risks for Complications

One of the most difficult things about diabetes is thinking about the complications that can happen in the future. It’s true that people with diabetes have a higher risk of heart, eye, kidney, and nerve damage.

You can take proactive, positive steps to reduce the risk of these problems by keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Focusing on the daily goal of controlling your blood sugar will help you stay positive about your long-term future with diabetes.

Take Care of Your Heart

The term “heart disease” is often used interchangeably with “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as infections and conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or beating rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.

Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. People with diabetes are at least two times as likely to have heart disease or a stroke.

Metabolic changes caused by diabetes can:

  • Harm the lining of the artery wall and make it more prone to plaque buildup;
  • Reduce elasticity of the arteries;
  • Increase triglyceride levels;
  • Increase the level of small, dense LDL cholesterol, which is more likely to contribute to plaque buildup;
  • Lower HDL (good cholesterol) levels and HDL’s ability to carry excess cholesterol out of the arteries.

Take action to lower your risk of heart disease or stroke:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Eat foods made with less salt and fat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be active for 30 minutes or more each day.
  • Stop smoking – call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  • Take medications as prescribed.
  • Ask your doctor about taking a daily aspirin.
  • Ask for help if you have trouble with stress or are feeling down.