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Follow these steps to prevent heart disease, stroke

The Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative (MN-DC) is urging the nearly 230,000 people with diabetes in the state to take steps to prevent heart disease and stroke - the leading killers of people with diabetes.

The MN-DC hopes that people with diabetes and health professionals make the link between diabetes and heart disease:

--Four out of 5 deaths of people with diabetes are due to heart disease or stroke.

--People with diabetes have the same risk of heart attack as a person without diabetes who has already had a heart attack.

--Yet most people with diabetes do not believe they are at serious risk for heart disease or stroke.

The good news: Simple steps can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

If you have diabetes, manage your ABC's: know your numbers and what your targets should be for:

A1C: a blood test that indicates how well you are managing your blood sugar. Check at least twice a year.

Blood pressure: indicates how hard your heart has to work to keep blood flowing through your body. Check at every doctor's visit.

Cholesterol: indicates the amount of fat (lipids) in your blood that can clog blood vessels. Check at least once a year.

Take action to keep your heart healthy. The same steps can be taken to manage all the ABCs: follow a healthy diet, get daily physical activity, lose some weight if you are overweight, take prescribed medicines, avoid smoking and ask your doctor about aspirin therapy.

Remember, keeping the ABCs under control can reduce heart disease and stroke by 33-50 percent.

If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about ways to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you are a health professional, check out the MN-DC's educational resources at www.mn-dc.org.

About the MN-DC

The MN-DP is celebrating their 10th Anniversary by combining forces with the heart health community to become the Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative. Learn more about the MN-DC and our educational products at www.mn-dc.org.

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