This post is authored by JoAnne Foody, MD, FACC, editor of CardioSmart.org
November is American Diabetes Month, a month of awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic that kills more Americans each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. There are several health complications associated with diabetes, including heart disease and stroke, hypertension, blindness and eye problems, and more. Further, adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two to four times higher than adults without diabetes.
The good news is that our patients living with, or at risk of, diabetes can manage the disease by following these steps:
- Eat healthy foods, and spread carbohydrate intake throughout the day
- If you take diabetes medicine, take it exactly as prescribed
- Check and record your blood sugar as often as recommended
- Try to do moderate activity for at least 2½ hours a week
- Limit alcohol intake
- Do not smoke
The ACC’s patient-focused initiative CardioSmart offers a number of tools to help with these steps. Targeted fact sheets on topics ranging from diabetes and exercise, to meal planning, to better understanding tests are available for patients. In addition, the CardioSmart Med Reminder mobile app can help manage and track medications. If your patient is looking to quit smoking, the “QUIT” CardioSmartTXT program offers regular text messages to help kick the habit for good. Plus, coming soon, a newly designed CardioSmart.org website will offer an activity tracker to help log exercise and weight loss, and will reward those who do so.
In addition, the recently launched CardioMetabolic Health Alliance, of which the ACC is a founding partner, is making strides to improve cardiometabolic risk factor control in diverse populations. Given that diabetes is one of the key risk factors for cardiometabolic disease, the Alliance is focused on providing tools and information to both providers and patients on how to prevent and/or control the disease. Among the tools: ACC's Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Self-Assessment Program, which is designed to help clinicians expand their knowledge of the connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This includes providing information about the cardiovascular effects of various therapeutic options and management strategies for diabetes and the breadth of therapeutic options with evidence-based cardiovascular benefits. Other helpful tools include the Blood Sugar Basics Program and the U.S. Diabetes Index, powered by the National Minority Quality Forum. Click here to learn more about the Alliance.
The College offers a number of ways to help us better manage and prevent diabetes in our patients. Together we can help the estimated 25.8 million people affected in the U.S.