Type 2 diabetes, a condition more and more Canadians are being diagnosed with, is becoming a real concern.

Dr. Robert McKelvie, a cardiologist at St. Joseph's Health Care in London, says, “I've been practicing medicine a long time, over thirty years, and in that time we've seen the population become heavier and less active and these are two reasons people will develop Type 2 diabetes.”

About 3.5 million Canadians are living with diabetes, which McKelvie says can lead to cardiovascular disease.

“Approximately half the patients or more who have diabetes will end up dying from their cardiovascular condition that will link back to their diabetes.”

In fact, people with diabetes may develop heart diseases 10-15 years earlier than a person without diabetes.

The underlying mechanism relates to the effects the blood sugars have on blood vessels themselves.

It leads to the walls of the blood vessels narrowing, which ultimately can result in problems in the heart or in the brain.

McKelvie says it's important for those who already have diabetes to follow the advice of their doctor to prevent further complications.

For example, he says, “Lifestyle modifications such as improving activity levels and diet are extremely important.”