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Living with diabetes, heart disease Special To The Star-news | Sat, Dec 03 2011 12:00 PM

(NAPS) — Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among the nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes? In fact, people with diabetes are two-to-four times more likely to have cardiovascular disease than people who do not have diabetes, and approximately two out of three people with diabetes die of complications, such as heart attack or stroke.

While people with diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a new survey from Merck reveals only one out of five patients surveyed listed heart attack or heart failure as their biggest worry regarding diabetes complications, and even fewer patients listed stroke.

NBA All-Star and Hall-of-Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe is teaming up with Merck to educate people with diabetes about how to help reduce their risk of heart disease.

“When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the diagnosis came as a shock and made me realize I had to start living a more diabetes-friendly lifestyle to help reduce my risk of diabetes-related complications, like heart disease,” said the former New York Knicks and Baltimore Bullets star. “Since teaming up with Merck, I’ve focused on taking a few small steps towards healthier decisions every day, which has helped to lower my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.”

Earl offers the following tips to help live a diabetes-friendly lifestyle:

• Focus on eating right: Eat the right amounts of foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. It is also important to eat foods that are prepared with less salt and fat. Talk to your healthcare provider about food choices that may be right for you.

• Start an exercise routine: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Being active and eating healthy foods will help you stay at a healthy weight. However, be sure to talk to your healthcare ­­pro­vider about the activity level.

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