Diabetics Can Reduce Risk Of Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month. For people with diabetes, it is particularly important to take care of their heart because having diabetes means they are two times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. The good news is that people with diabetes can take steps to lower their chances of developing heart disease and other heart problems. Managing the ABCs of diabetes will help to reduce their risk.

*A for the A1C test. The A1C test shows what your blood sugar (glucose) has been over the last three months. High blood sugar levels can harm the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.

*B for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work too hard. It can cause heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

*C for cholesterol. One kind of cholesterol, called LDL, can build up and clog blood vessels. It can cause heart attack or stroke.

The National Institute on Health’s National Diabetes Education Program also recommends following these tips to help to reduce the risk of heart disease:

*Maintain a healthy weight and stay active. Exercise is a very important aspect of diabetes management and heart disease prevention. Be active for 30 minutes or more each day. It’s okay to be active for 10 minutes at a time, 3 times a day.

*Make healthy food choices. Eat foods that are high in fiber and with heart-healthy fats. Eat foods low in saturated and trans fats. Limit desserts such as cookies and ice cream to only 1 or 2 times a week. Do not add salt to food.

*Stop smoking. Ask for help or call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW).

If you are interested in learning more about managing type II diabetes, then enroll in Penn State Extension’s Dining with Diabetes Program. Classes will provide nutrition education, daily meal plans, interactive cooking demonstrations, food sampling and an opportunity to connect with others who are living with type II diabetes.

Two, four-week programs will be held – one on Mondays beginning March 9, from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. with a follow-up class on June 1 at the North Pocono Senior Center, 12 John J. Michaels Drive, Covington Township; and one on Fridays beginning April 10 from 10 a.m. – noon with a follow-up class on July 10 at the South Side Senior Center, 425 Alder Street, Scranton.

The cost of the program is $40 per person or $55 for two family members living in the same household. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries receive free registration and scholarships are available.

For questions or to register, please call Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County at 570-963-6842, email [email protected], or visit and click on Lackawanna County.

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