WellSpan Home

Health Library

Cardiovascular Disease Screening and Management

You've probably heard that people with diabetes are at risk for multiple health complications, including cardiovascular disease. As it turns out, cardiovascular disease is especially common among people with diabetes: The majority of people with type 2 diabetes will eventually develop it.
Although most people have heard of cardiovascular disease, few understand exactly what it involves. Doctors use the term "cardiovascular disease" to describe many conditions that affect blood circulation in the body:

  • Heart disease happens when blood circulating to the heart is slowed or stopped because of a blocked artery. Heart disease can result in chest pain, a heart attack, or even sudden death.

  • Heart failure occurs when the heart loses its ability to pump blood as it should. Heart failure can be caused by a number of factors. These include damage to the heart or blocked arteries.

  • Stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked. This is often because of a blood clot or blockages within arteries.

What causes cardiovascular disease?

Most people think of obesity when they think of cardiovascular disease, but another strong risk factor is age. Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease goes up at age 40, but is highest after age 70.
People with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely than others to develop cardiovascular disease. Because this risk is so high, cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death in people with diabetes.

Warning signs

Seek medical attention if:

  • You have chest discomfort when you walk or exercise.

  • You have chest pain along with tiredness (fatigue) or shortness of breath.

  • Your resting heart rate is usually faster than 100 beats per minute.

  • You are a young man with erectile dysfunction.

How is cardiovascular disease detected?

If your doctors suspect cardiovascular disease, they will first look to your family health history for more information. Did your mother, father, brothers, or sisters have heart trouble? Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is higher if you have family members with the disease. Other risk factors include bad cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.
Doctors use a variety of tests to detect cardiovascular disease. A routine blood test can show whether you have high levels of c-reactive protein. This is a marker that you’re at higher risk. An ECG will show whether your heart’s electrical activity is normal. If it's not, a stress test on a treadmill, for example, will give more information that may lead to diagnosis. If you are not able to walk on a treadmill, your doctor may "stress" your heart by injecting medicine through an IV. This medicine can cause the heart to beat fast and mimic the stress of exercise. Some people will be asked to have an echocardiogram. This makes pictures of the heart to show how well the muscles of the heart can squeeze and pump blood.

Protect your heart!

If your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is high, now is the time for action. You can reduce your risk, starting today, by making the following lifestyle changes.
Ask your doctor to help you:

  • Quit smoking

  • Lose weight

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

  • Exercise

  • Control your blood pressure

  • Improve your cholesterol

  • Find out if using aspirin therapy would help you

  • Set an appropriate HbA1c goal with your doctor and work toward that goal

Diabetes and Heart Disease - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 2014-02-06T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2014-04-21T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2016-03-24T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2016 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×