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"When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my doctors told me that people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke," Jackson said. "This was all I needed to know to take my diabetes to heart. I made changes to my lifestyle and worked with my doctors to set goals for my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol."
But Jackson didn't change just his own life; he's helping others change their lives as well. He's joined with pharmaceutical giant Merck in a program called Taking Diabetes to Heart, the goal of which is to help people with type 2 diabetes start making healthy decisions.
The first step of the program is simply education. People with type 2 diabetes are two to four times as likely to die from heart disease as those who don't have diabetes. Likewise, they're two to four times more likely to suffer from a stroke.
But people with diabetes need not despair. The program urges them to remember the letters A, B and C. A stands for A1C: Know where your blood sugar levels are and what you can do to get them down. B stands for blood pressure, a silent killer that affects many type 2s. And C stands for, you guessed it, cholesterol, a crucial gauge of cardiovascular health.
"As a physician, I know that managing diabetes and cardiovascular disease go hand in hand since heart disease and stroke are complications of diabetes," said Helena W. Rodbard, past president of both the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. "Lowering cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, so it's important for patients to talk to their doctors about setting goals for their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol and developing an individualized treatment plan that is right for them."
For information on Randy Jackson's journey toward controlling his diabetes and on the ABCs of good health, Merck has created a special website: TakingDiabetestoHeart.com. Visit it for more commonsense tips and encouragement.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.