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According to the CDC, diabetes and heart disease go hand-in-hand.
In fact, if you’re living with diabetes, you’re twice as likely to end up with the condition or have a stroke as someone with normal blood sugar. And it’s likely to occur at a younger age.
And much of the risk can be laid at the feet of your cholesterol.
That’s because type 2 diabetes is often accompanied by elevated cholesterol levels.
Yet, despite the fact that all of this is known, many patients still don’t receive the care necessary to keep their cholesterol in check and ward off heart disease.
According to researchers, many doctors are falling down on the job, leaving people whose blood sugar is an issue, at risk.
Blood sugar, cholesterol and a high risk of heart problems
You see, the team started with one simple truth…
Type 2 diabetes is a major risk factor of cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease and heart failure, as well as premature death.
They knew that in order to prevent or at least delay complications, regular health care visits and good control of blood glucose and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and other risk factors are needed.
Yet, they had the feeling that many patients were being left hanging by a thread.
So they decided to find out just how bad the situation truly is.
The team analyzed the health records of 8,592 type 2 diabetes patients over a five-year period. And what they found should worry you…
The researchers discovered that the second-largest group in the study (a full eight percent of patients) had alarmingly “high-stable” LDL-C levels. In other words, they had LDL levels that put them in the danger zone and that never came down – just remained frighteningly high.
Even worse, these same patients were the ones whose doctors didn’t put them on high-intensity cholesterol medications (or even moderate-intensity).
That’s right — the people who needed the most treatment got the least.
The team also discovered that the proportion of diabetic patients receiving any statin treatment decreased from 42 percent to 27 percent among men, and from 34 percent to 23 percent in women in the same timeframe.
Basically, fewer and fewer diabetic patients were being treated to prevent heart problems from developing, despite the fact that they were at high risk!
Lowering your LDL cholesterol: beyond drugs
Luckily, if you’re living with diabetes, you don’t have to rely only on your doctor and a prescription (that they may never give you) to keep your LDL cholesterol and your heart risk in check.
Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, M., FACC who has dedicated her career to preventive cardiology and trained at Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins recommends a combination of fiber and plant sterols which could help lower your cholesterol by 30 or 40 point drops with even tiny dietary adjustments.
Additionally, studies have shown that adding prickly pear to your supplement regimen can improve both your total and LDL cholesterol profile.
Finally, while you’re lowering your LDL, you should also focus on raising your HDL or “good cholesterol.” One of the easiest ways to do this is by snacking on almonds.
Your doctor may ignore the heart risk posed by your diabetes, but you don’t have to.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!
Diabetes and Your Heart — CDC