1. Keep your A (A1C), B (Blood pressure), Cs (Cholesterol) in check.
According to Om Ganda, M.D., Director of the Lipid Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center, "Large-scale research studies have shown that controlling LDL-cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") and blood pressure can prevent heart complications by 30 to 50 percent." A1C levels of less than 7 percent can also have heart healthy benefits.
2. Ask your doctor about taking aspirin every day.
"Aspirin has been shown to be very effective at preventing serious vascular events, such as heart attack or stroke. We know that folks with diabetes are at much higher risk for these types of events, so people with diabetes should definitely consider this therapy," according to Kenneth Snow, M.D., Acting Chief of Adult Diabetes at Joslin Diabetes Center.
3. Be physically active and maintain a healthy body weight.
There are many cardiovascular benefits of physical activity. Try for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, on most days.
4. Eat wisely.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, such as butter, eggs, meat, and whole milk. Eat more foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads.
5. Do not smoke, and if you do smoke, quit.
"Nicotine narrows and restricts blood vessels, so does having diabetes. You can't change having diabetes, but you can stop damage caused by nicotine," Ganda says.