Deterring heart disease if you have diabetes

Lifestyle changes are vital, but new medications may help.


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Two of the most prevalent health problems in this country — type 2 diabetes and heart disease — are closely linked. People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than those without diabetes. An array of overlapping risk factors (such as being overweight and having high blood pressure and cholesterol levels) probably explains part of this association.

On the plus side, a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, coupled with regular moderate exercise (at least 30 minutes daily, most days of the week) can help people dodge the dangers associated with both heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Even so, most people with type 2 diabetes must also take the drug metformin (or other medications) to help reduce their high blood sugar levels, the hallmark of the disease.

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