Cardiovascular Disease with Diabetes: What To Look For & How To Reduce Risk

Of all of the many potential complications associated with diabetes, none takes more lives than cardiovascular disease (CVD). Problems with the heart and blood vessels, including atherosclerosis, heart failure, and arrhythmias, are the leading cause of death in people with diabetes and are responsible for 2/3 of all deaths among those with type 2 diabetes. Making matters worse, individuals living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease or experience a stroke than people who do not have the condition.

That is why heart health is so critical if you have diabetes. The good news is that you can significantly reduce your risk for CVD with vigilant diabetes management, diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

Diabetes Isn’t The Only Risk Factor For Cardiovascular Disease

By itself, diabetes presents serious risks of CVD. But many people with diabetes also have other issues or engage in behaviors that further make a cardiovascular event more likely. Those risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) and triglycerides
  • Low HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”)
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

Symptoms of Serious Heart Problems

Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention If you experience any of the following symptoms to prevent further damage to your heart, blood vessels, and brain:

Signs of a Heart Attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort, pressure, and tightness
  • A fullness that may feel like heartburn or indigestion
  • Discomfort in one or both of your arms, jaw, neck, back, jaw, or upper abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Indigestion, nausea, or vomiting
  • Tiredness, fainting, or light-headedness

Signs of Heart Failure:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Quick or irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing with pink-tinged mucus
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles

How To Protect Your Heart And Reduce Your CVD Risk

The best way to keep your heart healthy is to effectively manage your diabetes. Try to keep your blood sugar level in range for as long and as frequently as you can. A healthy diet, regular exercise, taking your insulin and medication as directed, managing stress and getting enough sleep, and regular doctor visits will all help as well.

At those doctor visits, discuss your cardiovascular risk with your physician and make sure the following are addressed:

  • Check your blood pressure
  • Discuss your blood glucose meter readings. Take along your meter/logbook
  • Check your weight
  • Discuss your diet
  • Share any lifestyle, work, or emotional changes
  • Discuss your physical activity or lack thereof
  • If you smoke, ask for guidance on how to quit
  • Have your feet checked
  • Talk about all the medications you take

Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM

As noted, keeping blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible is a critical element of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.

Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading