Font Size
A
A
A

Preventing Diabetic Heart and Blood Vessel Complications


Topic Overview

You can help prevent diabetic heart and blood vessel complications by eliminating or treating as many of your risk factors for atherosclerosis and high blood pressure (hypertension) as possible.

Risk factors for atherosclerosis

Risk factors for hypertension

  • High-sodium diet
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Kidney problems
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (more than 2 drinks a day for men or 1 drink a day for women)

Diabetes and these risk factors

Diabetes contributes to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) because it increases the buildup of plaque. The best way to prevent hardening of your arteries is to address all risk factors. Controlling your blood sugar levels as much as possible will also help prevent the acceleration of atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure increases your risk for stroke and atherosclerosis. You can lower blood pressure with lifestyle changes and medicine.

Treatments to prevent heart and blood vessel complications from diabetes

Lifestyle changes

Medications

  • Reduce salt intake.
  • Lose weight.
  • Get plenty of exercise. (Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week.)
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Increase potassium and calcium intake.
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Other vasodilators
  • Centrally acting agents

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerCaroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last RevisedFebruary 24, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.






Medical Dictionary