Taking care

There are several steps that you can take to help manage your type 2 diabetes and associated risk of cardiovascular disease.

Click on the icons below to find out more.

Follow a balanced diet to manage both your blood sugar and weight

The higher your body mass index (BMI), the greater the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Eating foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Following a balanced diet can help you better manage your blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight, which are all risk factors of cardiovascular disease.


Try to eat:

Vegetables and fruits

Wholegrain options of bread, pasta and rice

Some fish, meat and eggs and other non-dairy sources of proteins

Less red meat and more fish

Some dairy products, such as milk and cheese

Limited amounts of fatty and sugary foods and drinks


Try to avoid:

Foods that are high in salt, which can increase your blood pressure

Foods and drinks with a lot of added sugar

Large amounts of food with high levels of saturated fat (commonly found in animal products) and trans fats (typically found in fried food, cakes and sweet treats)

Get active

In addition to following a balanced diet, increasing your level of physical activity can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Physical activity can help improve the following conditions, which at the same time help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease:

Blood pressure

Blood lipid (blood fat) levels

The health of your heart and blood vessels

The ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar

Diabetes experts recommend doing aerobic exercise (raising your heart and breathing rate) for a total of 150 minutes each week.


Stopping smoking

Stopping smoking is one way to cut your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health. After stopping, your risk of developing heart disease will decrease. In fact, 11 years after you stop, your risk will be the same as that of a person with type two diabetes who does not smoke.

There are many support programmes available to help you stop smoking for good. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you stop smoking to reduce your cardiovascular risk. 


Take your diabetes medications as agreed with your doctor

When diet and exercise are not enough, you may need to take medications to manage your type 2 diabetes. It is important to take your medications as agreed with your doctor to manage your blood sugar levels over time, while also helping to prevent any potential damage to your blood vessels. Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease and managing it today will help you in the long-term.  


Regular monitoring and recording

Regularly monitoring and recording your blood sugar levels is one way to effectively control your type 2 diabetes, while also managing your overall cardiovascular risk. Try using a diabetes monitoring diary to record your blood sugar levels.

Not only is it important that you monitor your blood sugar, it is also important that you visit your doctor regularly to have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. This will help you and your doctor better manage your overall risk of cardiovascular disease.


Talk to your doctor

If you have type 2 diabetes, talk to your doctor to assess and manage your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Are you heart smart?


Do you know which factors affect your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure? 

Click on each factor or condition to learn about what affects your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Click here to learn more about the Get to the Heart of Type 2 Diabetes initiative



UK/WB/0517/0023f  August 2017