More than than 34 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Most have Type 2, which is mostly related to diet. The American Heart Association said many of them aren’t taking the steps necessary to reduce their risk of heart disease.
"Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in diabetes,” Dr. Joshua Joseph, an Assistant Professor at Ohio State University's College of Medicine, said.
According to a statement published in the journal Circulation, fewer than one in five adults with diabetes are doing what needs to be done to care for their hearts. Dr. Joseph helped write that statement.
"When individuals are working alongside us, really in a team-based way with specific targets and specific goals, they're able to achieve those goals much better," he said.
Dr. Joseph said people with Type 2 Diabetes should talk to their doctors about medication, and whether it’s effective in lowering risk of heart disease. He also said they should control their blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and stop smoking. He said medicine can help them lose weight, along with lifestyle changes.
"Ensuring that they are really focusing on physical activity, eating a diet that's going to help with the diabetes and not worsen the diabetes," Dr. Joseph said.
He said many people struggle with their health because of social factors.
"We all know that if you live in an environment where there's no fresh foods, or just maybe fast food restaurants, eating healthy is much more difficult," Dr. Joseph said.
He said there needs to be more of a focus on making a healthy diet more accessible to all.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said childhood obesity rates are rising, and so are the rates of Type 2 Diabetes in kids. It said ways to lower risk include drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks, eating more fruits and vegetables, and making physical activity more fun.