While you can improve your odds of avoiding heart attack and stroke, you may not be able to eliminate risk totally. What you can do is learn the signs of heart attack and stroke, and what to do if you experience them.
The classic warning signs of a heart attack are:
1. Chest pain, either constant or coming and going
2. Pain in the upper body including arms, neck, shoulders, back, pit of
the stomach or jaw
4. Excessive sweating
5. Shortness of breath
The classic warning signs of stroke are:
1. Sudden, unexplained headache
2. Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
3. Weakness or numbness, especially on one side of the body
4. Difficulty seeing
5. Sudden dizziness
If you experience any of these symptoms, you need immediate
medical attention. Don't delay! Call 911 or have someone call for you right away!
Smoking is one of the very worst things you can do if you have diabetes. As you've learned, people with diabetes are already at higher risk for hypertension and cardiovascular problems. Smoking sends the risk skyrocketing. If you have diabetes, and you still smoke, one of the best things you can possibly do is quit. Talk to your doctor about treatments available to help you "kick the habit."
Kidney disease is a common, long-term complication of poorly controlled diabetes or hypertension. The kidneys are the body's "filter system." They help remove waste products from the body by filtering blood through thousands of microscopic blood vessels. Waste products are trapped and passed into the urine, while purified blood is returned to circulation. In people with poorly controlled diabetes, the tiny blood vessels tend to slowly clog up.
Early-stage kidney disease can be detected using a special urine test that checks for a substance called microalbumin. If you have diabetes, it's a good idea to have your kidney function checked once each year with this test. Talk to your doctor to learn more. (Note: routine blood or urine tests will not detect early kidney disease.)
Nerve and Blood Vessel Damage