For many diabetics, someone in the family has had a heart attack or stroke at a young age. This family history increases the risk of heart disease. Having diabetes increases the risk, too. Diabetics are two to four times more likely than others to have a heart attack or a stroke.
Why are diabetics so prone to artery disease? It's partly because they are more likely than others to develop health problems that affect the heart. These include high blood pressure, excess weight and high cholesterol. The result is an unfortunate "package deal." The combination greatly increases the risk of artery disease.
Having several risks for heart or artery disease is known as the metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a powerful health threat. (It's also called syndrome X or insulin resistance syndrome.)
Metabolic syndrome is very common among diabetics. If you have type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to have each of the following risks. Many people with diabetes have all of them.