The researchers found being overweight increased the risk of diabetes. Smoking also increased the risk by 60 percent. In addition, an unhealthy diet and heavy drinking increased the risk of developing diabetes after a heart attack.
"Lifestyle factors can be particularly important in preventing disease," Marchioli said. "The reductions in risk associated with a Mediterranean-type diet suggest that diet could help reduce incidence of pre-diabetes and diabetes after a [heart attack]," he added.
Opie agreed that changing diet and exercising can help cut post-heart attack diabetes risk.
"Once you have had a heart attack, watch for new diabetes -- monitor blood sugar and keep exercising a lot," Opie advised. "This 'eats up' the blood sugar. And eat Mediterranean-style, adding olive oil and nuts -- the Mediterranean diet gives some, but not total, protection from new diabetes after a heart attack."
For more on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.
SOURCES: Roberto Marchioli, M.D., Laboratory of Clinical Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease, department of clinical pharmacology and epidemiology, Consorzio Mario Negri Sud, Chieti, Italy; Lionel Opie, M.D., director, Hatter Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Aug. 25, 2007, The Lancet
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