Harvard Heart Letter

Exercise protects the heart when diabetes threatens

Lower resting heart rate may mean lower risk of diabetes.

People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those without diabetes, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability among people with diabetes. But there is a positive side to this predicament: any healthy change you make to address one condition will help the other.

Exercise is the best example. Being active and fit reduces your chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place, and it significantly lowers your risk of developing cardiovascular complications if you already have diabetes.

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