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Why Personal Health Is Key to a Better Future

A recent survey by The Harris Poll found that 44 percent of people delayed or canceled their doctor’s appointments during the coronavirus pandemic. In an earlier survey, The Harris Poll found only about half of respondents age 45 and older with type 2 diabetes discussed their heart disease and stroke risks with their doctors, despite the fact they are twice as likely to die from these conditions.

Understanding the link between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and focusing on our personal health – and the health of our communities – has never been more important. Delaying routine and preventative healthcare during the pandemic may exacerbate suffering.

Increased risk

People with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and hypertension have a higher risk of severe or fatal outcomes due to COVID-19. Black people have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure than other racial groups. In general, blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians/Alaska natives have a higher prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes than whites and Asians. Socioeconomic factors affect exposure and infection, driving health disparities in these groups and contributing to a higher likelihood of deadly COVID-19. 

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have a common goal to help all people live their healthiest, longest life possible. Together, the AHA and the ADA are committed to supporting the more than 120 million people in the United States living with cardiovascular disease, and the more than 34 million living with diabetes.

To people living with type 2 diabetes and their loved ones: Heart disease and stroke are not inevitable. There are simple steps you can take to control, change, and avoid complications. Getting on track with your medical appointments and talking openly with your doctor about the link between these two major health threats are great ways to start.

Know diabetes

Before COVID-19, the AHA and the ADA came together to form an initiative called Know Diabetes by Heart to help people living with type 2 diabetes manage their risk for heart disease and stroke. That work is even more vital now. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding events have shown, once again, that collaboration is required to address health inequity and personal health so all people can live the lives they have worked for and so richly deserve. Today’s challenges are too big to face alone and we must remember we are not alone. You are not alone.

COVID-19 shines a direct spotlight on chronic health conditions and the additional health risks they present. As the global pandemic evolves, managing your personal health is key to a better future.

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