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"What are the risks of heart disease in a person with type 1 diabetes?"
I am a 24-year-old Latina woman. Although I appear to be fairly healthy overall, I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12. As long as I take regular insulin shots and watch my diet carefully, my diabetes is under control. Recently, I heard on the local news a report about a connection between type 1 diabetes and heart disease. What is the risk of heart disease that I have due to my diabetes, and is there anything I can do to reduce this risk?
There is a link between diabetes and heart disease. The most common heart condition that diabetics are more susceptible to is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD can result in blockages in the arteries that bring blood to the heart muscle. This can lead to heart attacks and congestive heart failure. I suggest that you continue to follow-up with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist, whoever you have been seeing for your diabetes. The good news is that not all diabetics are at equal risk for developing the different types of heart disease. Excellent control of your blood sugar can substantially reduce your risk of heart disease. In addition, you should have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly when you get older to make sure both are in check. If your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are all in good standing, you chances of developing CAD will be much reduced. Please continue to follow with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist. Make sure that he or she is following your HcgA1c levels. These levels are how we tell if someone's blood sugar is under control. In addition, make sure to check your blood sugars as prescribed and keep a log. This way you can show them to your doctor who can then make accurate adjustments to your insulin as needed. Good luck!
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