By Frieda Wiley, PharmD, CGP, RPh
Chances are you already know that having diabetes automatically puts you at risk for developing heart disease. But what does that really mean? Does it mean you’re more likely to have high blood pressure or a stroke, or does diabetes also increase your risk for developing other heart-related conditions? Take this quiz to see how much you really know about diabetes and heart disease.
1. What percentage of people who have diabetes die of heart disease or stroke?
A. 20 percent
B. 34 percent
C. 65 percent
D. 78 percent
2. Which country is considered the “Diabetes Capital of the World”?
B. The United States
3. Which of the following is NOT a potential side effect of peripheral artery disease (PAD)?
B. Pain during or when not exercising
C. Amputation of a limb or part of a limb
E. Nail fungus
4. Not only are people who have Type 1 diabetes mellitus at risk for coronary artery disease, but they also have an increased risk of developing which of the following:
2. Heart attack
3. Periodontal disease
A. 1 only
B. 1 and 2
C. 3 only
D. 2 and 3
E. All of the above
5. According to guidelines for diabetes set by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), what is the goal for diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number that appears on your blood pressure reading)?
A. 60 mm Hg
B. 70 mm Hg
C. 80 mm Hg
D. 90 mm Hg
E. 100 mm Hg
6. True or False: All people who have diabetes should also take a medication belonging to a class of drugs called statins.
1. C. 65 percent. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 65 percent of all people with diabetes will die of either a stroke or heart disease, and the World Health Organization (WHO) reports this number at about 50 percent across the globe. Also, adults who have diabetes are up to four times more likely to have a stroke or heart disease than adults who do not have diabetes.
2. A. China. Although India once held the title “Diabetes Capital of the World,” China has surpassed it in recent years. As many as 20 percent of the global population (one out of every five people) who has diabetes is of Indian descent, but the Chinese account for 25 percent, or one in four of all diabetics on the planet. High blood pressure — a condition commonly seen in people who already have diabetes — is also on the rise in both countries. The rise of diabetes and conditions of the heart and circulatory system across the globe are examples of the growing evidence that learning more about these conditions and developing healthy habits to help prevent or manage them are key, regardless of where you live or who you are.
3. E. Nail fungus. In addition to stroke and heart attack, diabetes can cause and/or aggravate many other conditions of the heart and circulatory system, including coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral artery disease (PAD) and high blood pressure. As its name indicates, peripheral artery disease affects arteries in the periphery — the arms, hands, fingers, legs and toes. Like nerve pain caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), peripheral artery disease can cause numbness in these areas. However, unlike diabetic neuropathy, people with PAD also may have pain in these areas, pain while exercising, slow-healing wounds and the possibility of developing gangrene. Some of the most severe cases of CAD may result in amputation or removal of a limb.
4. E. All of the above. A recent study shows people who have Type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Having periodontal disease automatically increases the risk of developing heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, and may result in various complications during or after pregnancy such as toxemia (also called preeclampsia), premature birth, and low birth weight. People with diabetes are also more susceptible to endocarditis, a condition in which the tissue lining the cavity of the heart becomes inflamed. The condition tends to be more severe in diabetics.
5. D. 90 mm Hg. As of January 2015, the American Diabetes Association recommends that most people who have diabetes try to keep their blood pressure below 90 mm Hg instead of 80 mm Hg. However, certain people may need to aim for a lower diastolic blood pressure. Your doctor will determine what goals are best for you and your condition.
6. False. According to the January 2015 guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, any person who has diabetes and heart disease should take a statin — regardless of his or her age. However, the dose or strength of the statin your doctor prescribes may depend on a combination of several factors including your age and other conditions or habits you may have that increase your risk of heart disease.
Want to learn more about diabetes and heart health? Read “Taking Diabetes to Heart” and “Heart Health Fact or Fiction.”
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