Having diabetes puts you at higher risk for a number of cardiovascular (heart and circulation system) problems. Because of this, your physician or primary health care provider may recommend that you:

  • monitor cholesterol levels and take a "statin" medication (e.g., atorvastatin, lovastatin,  rosuvastatin, simvastatin)
  • be treated with heart medications called ACE inhibitors or ARBs (angiotensin II receptor blockers) to protect your arteries
  • take low-dose ASA daily  if you have heart disease or are at high risk for heart disease – talk to your physician or primary health care provider to determine if ASA is right for you
  • monitor your blood pressure and treat it if it is high (target levels for blood pressure are lower than for someone without diabetes)

What can you do to help control your blood pressure?

Consult your physician or primary health care provider about your "target" blood pressure. Monitor your blood pressure regularly as recommended by your health care team. Many pharmacies sell blood pressure monitors that you can easily use at home. If you discover your blood pressure is higher than it should be, speak to your health care team. You may need to adopt some lifestyle changes (see below) or take a medication (or combination of medications) to help lower your blood pressure. Some things you can do to help control your blood pressure include:

  • follow a low-fat, low-salt diet (such as the DASH diet)
  • exercise regularly
  • keep a healthy body weight
  • reduce the amount of alcohol that you drink
  • try to quit smoking
  • manage stress