heart disease prevention
Heart Disease and the T2D Connection

People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or suffer a stroke than non-diabetics. 

In fact, the American Heart Association recently issued its  Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics for 2023 which found that one in three adults in the U.S. have three or more risk factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders, and/or kidney disease. This supports the likelihood that if you have diabetes, you may also be prone to heart disease. 

How does diabetes contribute to heart disease?

High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves surrounding the heart, leading to deterioration and serious damage over time. 

Texas Diabetes team of endocrinology specialists can not only help manage your diabetes, but we can monitor your heart health and assess your risk for cardiovascular disease too. 

Our endocrinology experts recommend several tips to both manage your diabetes and support a healthy heart.  

Five Tips to Manage Diabetes While Supporting Heart Health 

1.         Maintain a healthy weight. Discuss your goal weight with your physician for optimal health and remember that steady and gradual weight loss is the safest route. 

2.         Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, at least 150 minutes per week for adults, helps boost circulation and lower blood glucose levels. Find a sport or active hobby that you enjoy so that you’re more likely to stick with it!

3.         Follow a heart healthy diet. Eat right-sized portions and try using the Diabetes Plate Method to guide your meals. Load up on brightly colored, non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. 

4.         Look after your mental health. Effectively managing stress can help keep hormones and blood pressure in check, both of which lead to better diabetes management and heart health. Find things that help you to unwind, like walks, reading, meditation, or warm baths, and build them into your daily schedule as you would any other important activity. 

5.         Take medications as prescribed. Make sure you are taking all of your diabetes medications and insulin as directed by your physician to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And stay on top of all your numbers that you should be regularly monitoring, such as your A1C, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure. 

In addition to managing your diabetes, we can help assess your risk for cardiovascular disease so that we can best determine your treatment.  

Heart Disease Prevention at TD&E

At Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, we conveniently offer cardiovascular risk assessment testing in our clinics which includes: 

  • Advanced Lipid Test: this diagnostic evaluates more than traditional testing (cholesterol, LDL & HDL) in order to measure abnormal lipid levels that are often missed 
  • Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) Test: this is a non-invasive procedure similar to an X-ray that detects calcium/plaque in the arteries that feed your heart which can help diagnose coronary artery disease before showing signs or symptoms 

Our physicians and advanced practice providers are trained in lipidology and have extensive experience in treating cholesterol disorders. 

Contact Us Today to Learn about Managing Diabetes and Preventing Heart Disease 

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology and discover how our diabetes treatment and heart prevention services can help you, contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online.  

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lipid disorders and heart disease
FAQs with Ashley Davila: Lipid Disorders and Heart Disease Prevention

If you have been diagnosed with a lipid disorder, you are at an increased risk for developing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. At Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, we believe that cardiovascular risk reduction and prevention is one of our most important jobs.

Cardiovascular risk assessments help our patients gain better control of their health by identifying underlying conditions that can cause a heart attack or stroke. We offer advanced lipid and Carotid-Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) testing and treatments designed to prevent cardiovascular disease.

In this blog, advanced practice provider and clinical lipid specialist Ashley Davila, MSN, ACNS-BC answers some frequently asked questions about lipid disorders and heart disease prevention.

What does it mean to have a lipid disorder?

​A lipid disorder is a broad term that encompasses patients who have abnormalities in their cholesterol or lipoprotein profiles and often these disorders place patients at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Who is a candidate for advanced lipid testing?

Advanced lipid testing is very informative for patients with metabolic issues (i.e., diabetes, insulin resistance) as it measures lipoprotein particles instead of just cholesterol. There are often abnormalities in lipoproteins that would not be readily identifiable with just a standard cholesterol panel. Advanced lipid testing is also very useful in patients with significant artery disease or strong family history of significant artery disease.

Who is a candidate for Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) testing?

CIMT is a non-invasive test to assess the health of the arteries. It can detect the earliest changes seen in the arteries – thickening in the intima-medial space. CIMT is recommended for younger patients who have significant family histories related to heart disease.

Heart Disease Prevention

By following these preventative measures, you can greatly lower your risk of developing heart disease. 

Exercise regularly

One of the most important things you can do to prevent heart disease is to exercise regularly. Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat helps to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. Aim for at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. 

Maintain a healthy diet

A diet low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and salt can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease. Focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like those found in nuts, seeds, and fish.

Quit smoking

Smoking damages the lining of blood vessels and increases the risk of blood clots. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. 

Manage stress

Stress can take a toll on your heart health, as chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure and inflammation, both of which increase the risk of heart disease. Take steps to manage your stress levels, such as practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep.

Regular check-ups and screenings

Regular check-ups with a doctor can help identify and manage risk factors for heart disease. Your doctor can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels to ensure that they are within healthy ranges. 

Limit alcohol consumption

While moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, excessive drinking can have the opposite effect. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke. 

Lipid Disorder Treatment 

Lipid disorder treatment is determined by a patients’ underlying health conditions, cholesterol levels and age. Lifestyle changes are the first line of defense in fighting lipid disorders. In some cases, medication and supplements for cholesterol management may be recommended. Remember to always consult with your doctor before making any major lifestyle changes or beginning a treatment regimen. 

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.