Having type 2 diabetes means that you are more likely to have heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and problems with circulation in your legs and feet. Other things that raise risk in people with type 2 diabetes include smoking, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, and high levels of fat (such as cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood. Researchers found that Mexican-American adults with diabetes and triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood often also have a steady, low-level of inflammation in the body. This raises the risk of heart and lung disease. In a study of 215 people living on the Texas-Mexico border, researchers found higher rates of heart attack and stroke in people with diabetes than in people without diabetes. The chances of having a heart attack were eight times higher in people with high triglycerides and inflammation in the blood compared to people with inflammation only. The chances of heart attack in people with diabetes were 20 times higher in people with high triglycerides, inflammation markers in the blood, and low good cholesterol. The results also showed that the chance of stroke was three times higher in people with poorly controlled diabetes (characterized by HbA1c over 6.5). Improving air quality, increasing access to healthy food, and being more physically active may decrease risk for diabetes in Mexican-Americans.
Photo by Mil Familias