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Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Management in Diabetic Patients

Dr. Maisara Rahman shares the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She offers important prevention tips and treatment options available.
Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Management in Diabetic Patients
Featured Speaker:
Maisara Rahman, MD
Maisara Rahman, MD graduated from the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. She completed her Family Medicine Residency Training at Riverside County Regional Medical Center and became the Chief Resident.  She is board certified with the American Academy of Family Physicians and is president of the California Academy of Family Physicians for the San Bernardino-Riverside Chapter.

Learn more about Maisara Rahman, MD

Melanie Cole (Host): If you’ve been told you have diabetes, you are now at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and vice versa. We’re talking today, in this diabetes series, with Dr. Maisara Rahman. She’s a Family Medicine physician and a member of the medical staff at Temecula Valley Hospital. Dr. Rahman, tell us about the link between cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Maisara Rahman, MD (Guest): Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death for most patients with diabetes. And modification of their cardiovascular risk factors is essential to help reduce the risk of any type of cardiovascular event.

Host: Well then tell us how diabetes is linked. If somebody has high blood pressure, they are at risk for cardiovascular disease. If somebody has diabetes, they are at risk. Tell us how these all combine and what we can do about these comorbid conditions that contribute to something as serious as heart disease.

Dr. Rahman: Yeah so, most of my patients who are diabetic, they also have high blood pressure and they also have high cholesterol. And it is all inter linked. It all starts with obesity. As someone becomes obese, they become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance kind of triggers that high blood pressure and then once they become hypertensive, they are obese and so now they have insulin resistance and that forms diabetes. Diabetes is again, a risk factor for heart disease. So, as diabetics, they don’t know their bodies stop metabolizing sugar the way somebody who doesn’t have diabetes metabolizes the sugars. So, you get inflammation and then the fat cells kind of start to start to act abnormally so their cholesterol levels start to elevate, especially their triglyceride levels. And we know that increased LDL, triglycerides, high blood pressure; they all lead to – those are the risk factors for developing heart disease.

Host: Wow, so it’s really, it can be a domino effect, right. So, what would you like listeners to know about controlling their high blood pressure, controlling their cholesterol both with diet and medication so that they don’t increase their risk for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease?

Dr. Rahman: Absolutely. So, for my patients that come in, I always go over their ABCs and their A is their A1c, making sure that their blood sugar is controlled because we know that if we control the blood sugars, we decrease that risk of them getting that heart attack or that stroke. Also controlling the blood pressure is key. Because high blood pressure injures our vessels. And so controlling the blood pressure is also key to preventing plaque formation in that patient’s vessels. Controlling the cholesterol piece is also important because we know that that bad cholesterol and that high triglyceride level is also going to help form that plaque in that vessel. So, controlling their ABCs is going to be critical so we can decrease their overall risk of developing cardiovascular disease. I always give them what their A1c is, what their blood pressure is and what their cholesterol is and what their goals should be for each one.

Host: How often should we get our blood pressure checked?

Dr. Rahman: Blood pressure usually I have my patients check their blood pressures at home so they can see that taking their medications, it actually is lowering it. I also have some of my patients check blood pressure readings at home for those who are uncontrolled and then we titrate their medications when they come back to the office. But in general, if your blood pressure is very controlled, you don’t need to check it at home unless we are changing medication around or if they feel like it’s not controlled, we tell them to check it but if it is well-controlled, they don’t need to check it at home.

Host: Give us your best advice Dr. Rahman, what you would like the listeners to know about that link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both serious diseases and conditions that can be managed with lifestyle, medications and medicational intervention and even in some cases surgical intervention. Please give us your best advice of reducing that risk of heart disease and diabetes by those lifestyle changes that we can make.

Dr. Rahman: So, my best advice is prevention. One, try to take care of yourself in terms of your weight and eating healthy and having a healthy lifestyle. So, our patients do not get, don’t become obese and diabetes is not triggered, and that high cholesterol and high blood pressure is not induced from just lifestyle and inactivity types of issues.

And second, if you do have type 2 diabetes or type 1, it’s really important to control those risk factors, controlling your diabetes, the blood pressure, or the cholesterol. Staying active is going to be key too because we know that inactivity causes a lot of inflammation and it can also lead to cardiovascular disease so if we want to cut down on risk factors; we also have to make sure that our patients are also not smoking because if we have a diabetic who is also smoking, that triples their chances of getting even worsened vessel disease. And this vessel disease is not just in the heart vessels, but it is throughout their body.

Host: It is great advice. Thank you so much Dr. Rahman for doing this series on diabetes and sharing your expertise on the many different factors involved in diabetes. Thank you again. That wraps up this episode in the series on diabetes with Temecula Valley Hospital. The show is TVH Health Chat. Head on over to our website at for more information and to get connected with one of our providers. If you found these podcasts informative, please share them on your social media with those that you love and be sure to check out all the other fascinating podcasts in our library. Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Temecula Valley Hospital. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. This is Melanie Cole.