Managing Diabetes FAQs


Diabetes is a condition that can create a lot of questions. Wu Wen, M.D., Ph.D has provided answers to some frequently asked questions about managing diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot make or properly use insulin, a hormone that helps control the sugar or glucose in your blood. Your body needs glucose for energy, but too much glucose poses a health risk.

Can You Have Diabetes and Not Know It?

Yes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 20.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, but approximately 6.2 million of them aren’t aware that they have the disease. Another 54 million people have prediabetes, a condition that may lead to diabetes.

Is There a Connection Between Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease?

Diabetes can damage your blood vessels, including the arteries that supply blood to your heart and brain. This can lead to atherosclerosis (arterial-plaque buildup), a condition that can cut off blood supply, increase blood pressure and ultimately cause a heart attack or stroke. In addition, people with diabetes may not feel key symptoms, such as chest, jaw or arm pain that indicate that something is wrong. As a result, they may experience what’s known as a “silent” heart attack.

Are Individuals with Diabetes at a Greater Risk for Heart Attack or Stroke?

You’re two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke if you have diabetes. Stroke and heart attack account for about 65 percent of all diabetes-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Can Someone with Diabetes Lower His or Her Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?

People with diabetes can manage their blood sugar, keep their blood pressure in check, control cholesterol and triglycerides, make healthy lifestyle changes, take a baby aspirin and, if necessary, use other medication to reduce their risk of heart disease.

The American Diabetes Association and other professional organizations recommend that adults with diabetes take aspirin if there are no contraindications, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, history of hemorrhagic strokes, etc.

What Resources Does SoutheastHealth Offer to Help People with Diabetes Live Well?

Southeast Diabetes Center, nationally recognized for its diabetes self-management program by the American Diabetes Association, offers comprehensive diabetes education to teach patients how to better manage their disease. Research has proven that diabetes education is effective in improving clinical outcomes and quality of life.