Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) has announced that Grammy Award-winning music producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2003, is using his personal experience to help others with type 2 diabetes understand the serious complications, including heart disease.

Jackson is touring the country with Merck for the Taking Diabetes to Heart program to help “set the stage” for people to commit to a diabetes-friendly lifestyle. The program will provide resources and information to help inspire people to take small steps to better health.

“When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my doctors told me that people with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Jackson. “This was all I needed to know to take my diabetes to heart. I made changes to my lifestyle and worked with my doctors to set goals for my blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.”

Randy Jackson is now working on the Taking Diabetes to Heart program to help people living with type 2 diabetes understand the serious complications, including heart disease, a leading cause of death among people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, adults with type 2 diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes. In addition, the risk of stroke is 2 to 4 times higher in adults with diabetes compared to adults without diabetes.

Early and effective management of the ABCs of diabetes — A1C, or blood sugar, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol, is a critical part of an effective treatment plan and can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

“As a physician, I know that managing diabetes and cardiovascular disease go hand in hand since heart disease and stroke are complications of diabetes,” says Helena W. Rodbard, M.D., FACP, MACE, past president of the American College of Endocrinology (ACE), and past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). “Lowering cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, so it’s important for patients to talk to their doctors about setting goals for their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol and developing an individualized treatment plan that is right for them.”

Randy Jackson is encouraging people with type 2 diabetes to visit www.TakingDiabetestoHeart.com to learn about ways that patients can help take their diabetes to heart and pledge to better manage their diabetes. Those with type 2 diabetes who make the pledge will have access to Jackson’s personal tips and example questions to ask their doctors about ways to help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of heart disease.

“Merck is committed to raising awareness of type 2 diabetes and advancing patients’ understanding about how to help better manage the disease,” said Mark Timney, president, Global Human Health – U.S. Market, Merck. “We’re thrilled to team up with Randy Jackson to help shed light on the connection between diabetes and heart disease.”

For more information about Randy Jackson’s story, the Taking Diabetes to Heart program, and to make a pledge to take your diabetes to heart, visit www.TakingDiabetestoHeart.com.

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