Reporter: Shannon Samson
Web Producer: Jason Bailey
Here's a startling statistic: about 75-percent of people with diabetes will die of heart disease or stroke.
Managing risk factors like cholesterol can literally mean the difference between life and death for these patients. However, there are some easy ways that diabetics to keep cholesterol in check.
People who live a healthy lifestyle can still be susceptible to diabetes. Many of them left wondering 'What did I do wrong?'
Researchers are discovering that people diagnosed with diabetes, are more likely to have a heart attack, almost four-times as often.
Maria del Pilar Solano, M.D., Endocrinologist say the increased chances of heart attacks, means that an increased level of awarness needs to be garnered by patients.
"They have higher mortality, and therefore, we need to be aggressive in managing all the risk factors," says Solano.
Solano says one of the most important risk factors to manage is cholesterol. She says most patients with diabetes should be on a statin drug, even if their cholesterol is normal.
Solano says, "Using these medications have an impact in reducing cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular events."
Another way to reduce those events is to keep bad cholesterol levels below 100 and good cholesterol above 45. Exercise boosts good cholesterol, and foods like walnuts, soybeans and salmon will help lower the bad and they're low in sugar.
Another tip is to saturated fat should account for less than seven percent of daily calories.
Solano says patients with diabetes should consume less than 200-grams of cholesterol a day and avoid trans-saturated fats.
Patients with diabetes should get their cholesterol tested about every six-months.