Controlling Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Helps Diabetics - 8 News NOW

Paula Francis, Anchor

Controlling Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Helps Diabetics

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Two out of three people with diabetes will die from heart disease or stroke. But those who are proactive with controlling cholesterol and blood pressure stand a much better chance of avoiding trouble.

In this week's Dealing with Diabetes report, a local heart specialist considers diabetes to be more than just a risk factor.

As a diabetic, Las Vegas resident Irma Park knows the importance of controlling her cholesterol. And it's a constant challenge. Park was able to quit smoking, but adjusting her diet is proving harder than she thought.

"I can't pass up anything that looks good to me," said Park.

Las Vegas cardiologist, James Mock says diabetics can do themselves a favor by trying their best to lead a healthy lifestyle. "One of the things that we're going to really focus on with that diabetic patient is lifestyle modification. Lose weight as a beginning. Exercise, lose weight, attempt to lower the carbohydrate intake in your diet," he said.

Poor circulation increases the prevalence of heart disease among diabetics to the point where some doctors automatically assume it's going to be a problem.

"We treat the diabetic patient as we would treat a patient who's already had a heart attack," said Dr. Mock. And that means following strict guidelines for blood pressure and cholesterol.

"People with diabetes, our goals are changed. In terms of blood pressure lowering, we want them to have a much lower blood pressure than the non-diabetic patient. We want them to have a much lower bad cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol as compared to the non-diabetic patient. Why -- because we assume they already have blocked arteries," said Dr. Mock.

Dr. Mock says high blood pressure can also result in kidney failure and the need for dialysis -- another reason to be compliant with doctor's orders.

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