Two of the world’s leading health organizations in the areas of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes have announced the Know Diabetes by Heart initiative to help inspire and educate more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes to lower their risk for cardiovascular death, heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke.
Bassett lost her mother to heart complications from diabetes.
“I wish my family had recognized the link earlier and that’s why I want everyone living with Type 2 diabetes to know about the connection to heart disease and stroke and know that they can do something about it,” Bassett said in a press release.
She went on to encourage people to, “Start by asking about it at your next doctor’s appointment. I also want to thank our ambassadors for bravely sharing their deeply personal stories on such a big stage. I know they will be a source of strength and encouragement for others.”
Following a nationwide search by Know Diabetes by Heart, five ambassadors and champions, are sharing their journeys with Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to help others manage the link:
The 2019-20 Know Diabetes by Heart national ambassadors are:
- Jacqueline Alikhaani (Los Angeles, CA) – Jacqueline, 59, and her husband are both heart survivors, making heart health management a priority in their household. Jacqueline is passionate about spreading awareness of the link between Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, speaking up at family reunions and serving as a research advocate for her loved ones. Jacqueline’s champion is her husband, Sadegh.
- Hyvelle Ferguson Davis (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – Following her Type 2 diabetes diagnosis at age 33, Hyvelle, now 47, tried to make the necessary changes to manage her condition, but she reverted to a poor diet and lifestyle habits. At 41, she had a wakeup call—a stroke, followed by quadruple bypass surgery—that inspired her to fully commit to healthy living. Hyvelle’s champions are her sister, Judith Missick, and her niece, Sasha Missick.
- Christina Herrera (Dallas, TX) – After losing three close family members to heart disease complications as a result of Type 2 diabetes, Christina, 45, experienced heart attack symptoms at work. In the emergency room, tests revealed three blocked arteries, leading to a triple bypass surgery. Today, she controls her Type 2 diabetes through regular exercise (running is her favorite), healthy eating and managing her medications. Christina’s champion is her high school friend, Juanita Cano.
- Brandon Lewis (Dallas, TX) – Although he has a family history of Type 2 diabetes, Brandon, 41, ignored his risks until he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in 2015. He has since pledged to eat healthier, be more active and lose weight to lower his risk for heart disease and stroke. Brandon’s champion is his wife, Seckeita.
- Rob Taub (New York City, NY) – Rob, 63, saw the toll that Type 2 diabetes and heart disease took on his parents while he cared for them. After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure himself, Rob changed his lifestyle and lost more than 60 pounds. As a writer and broadcast personality, Rob also spreads awareness about how to manage Type 2 diabetes and lessen heart disease risks through his TV and radio segments. Rob’s champion is his friend, Dr. Evelyn Granieri.
People living with Type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to die from heart disease and stroke, but only about half of them who are 45 or older understand their increased risk or have discussed it with their doctor. New focus group research revealed that people living with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to mention concerns about diabetes complications like losing their eyesight or a limb than heart disease or stroke.