Reducing your risk of heart disease

Reducing your risk of heart disease

Speak to your doctor about your risk of heart disease if you have experienced any of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Being overweight
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Family history of heart disease or stroke

Recent research shows that if you have type 2 diabetes, controlling your blood sugar alone may not be enough to protect your heart. People with type 2 diabetes could develop heart disease 15 years earlier than people who do not have diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes and a history of heart disease, talk to your doctor about possible medication options.

It’s important to talk to your doctor about your risk of developing heart health issues.

Hae-Yung’s journey with type 2 diabetes

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, people often feel like they should’ve done more. Hae-Yung tells her story of how she was able to move past those initial feelings and reframe her mindset to “What do I do now?”

“My parents had diabetes, so it was always in the back of my mind.”

Hae-Yung lives with type 2 diabetes. With the help of her doctor, she understands the link between diabetes and heart health. Hae-Yung now proactively looks for ways to take charge and do everything she can to protect her heart.

Cherylene’s journey with type 2 diabetes

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can come as quite a shock. Cherylene, a diabetes nurse educator, talks about her own diagnosis and how it empowered her to take charge of not only her diabetes, but also her heart health.

“Getting the diagnosis is not an end all anymore.”

As a diabetes nurse educator and someone living with type 2 diabetes, Cherylene understands first-hand just how important it is to look after her blood sugar as well as her heart health.

Did you know?
Women with diabetes are more likely to have heart attacks, angina (chest pain), heart failure or heart surgery than men with diabetes.

How can I reduce my risk of heart disease?

Diabetes Canada recommends that people with diabetes reduce their risk of heart disease by:

  • Aiming for good blood pressure control
  • Controlling cholesterol levels
  • Manage blood glucose

It’s also important to remember the ABCDES to reduce your risk of heart disease.

The A-B-C-D-E-S of risk reduction


Control blood sugar levels and keep A1C around 7% or less. A1C is a blood test that is an index of the average blood sugar level over the last 120 days.


Control your blood pressure to less than 130/80 mmHg


Manage your cholesterol


Speak with your doctor about medication options to help reduce the risk of heart disease


Regular physical activity, which includes healthy diet, achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight


Ensure you’re tested regularly for possible complications with your heart, feet and kidneys


Look into ways to reduce or stop smoking


Manage stress effectively

Speak to your doctor about how you can protect your heart health. Together, you can come up with an achievable step-by-step plan to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Dan’s journey with type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Being told “you have heart disease” can be scary and life-changing – especially when you’re only 26. Dan tells his story of how the initial shock of a diagnosis turned into determination to live a healthier life.
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Talk to your doctor about possible medication options

Feel confident you're getting the most out of your next doctor's appointment by preparing ahead of time. Use this guide as a cheat sheet to help organize your thoughts and questions.

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Feel prepared for your next appointment

Use our doctor’s discussion guide to help organize your thoughts and questions ahead of time. It’ll help you feel more confident that you’ve covered off everything you wanted to discuss when you connect with your doctor.

Talk to your doctor
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Reflect on your type 2 diabetes and heart health

You’ve got lots to consider when managing your type 2 diabetes and heart health. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and reflect on your self-management plan. Our Self-assessment Wheel can help you do this.

Take the assessment now