Major Risk Factors: High Blood Sugar/Diabetes
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute lists High Blood Sugar/Diabetes as one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
More than 65 percent of people who have diabetes die of some type of cardiovascular disease. Diabetic women are at especially high risk for dying of heart disease and stroke. Today, 7 million women in the United States have diabetes, including an estimated 3 million women who do not even know they have the disease.
The type of diabetes that most commonly develops in adulthood is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease. In addition to increasing the risk for heart disease, it is the #1 cause of kidney failure, blindness, and lower limb amputation in adults. Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage and difficulties in fighting infection. The risk of type 2 diabetes rises after the age of 45.
You are much more likely to develop this disease if you are overweight, especially if you have extra weight around your waist. Other risk factors include physical inactivity and a family history of diabetes. You have diabetes if your fasting blood glucose level is 126 mg/dL or higher. If you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels will help to prevent complications.
If you have “prediabetes” – higher than normal glucose levels – you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. But you can take steps to improve your health and delay or possibly prevent diabetes. A recent study showed that many overweight, prediabetic people dramatically reduced the risk of developing diabetes by following a lower fat, lower calorie diet and getting 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days per week.