According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2021 data, it is known that 537 million people in the world have diabetes and 90% of them are diagnosed with Type-2 DM . CVD is an important cause of morbidity/mortality in individuals with diabetes, and it is difficult to examine risk factors separately from DM [11, 15]. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) (2019) report and the Turkish Endocrinology and Metabolism Society Guidelines (2020), controlling risk factors in individuals with DM also reduces the risk of CVD [16, 17].
There are many factors such as advanced age, genetic factors, smoking/alcohol use, obesity, malnutrition, and sedentary lifestyle among diabetes and CVD risk factors. In the national and international literature, it is seen that the majority of individuals with DM consume cigarettes and alcohol, are obese, and have a low level of physical activity [1, 11, 18]. In this study, it is seen that the average age of Type-2 DM individuals is over 60 years old, more than half of them have a family history of DM and CVD, and most of them do not exercise. The results of the research are similar to the literature and it can be said that individuals with Type-2 DM have more than one CVD risk factor. The level of knowledge is important in reducing the risk of CVD in individuals with type-2 DM. In the study of Wanger et al. (2005), it is seen that the CVD risk factor knowledge level of individuals with DM is low .
There are different studies in the literature reporting that individuals with DM have medium or high CVD risk factor knowledge levels [5, 20]. In this study, the CVD risk factor knowledge level of individuals with diabetes was found to be higher than the limit. The high level of knowledge of individuals indicates that their awareness of CVD risk factors has improved. This awareness of risk factors can be considered as the strength of the study in gaining healthy life behaviors in individuals with Type-2 DM.
It is stated in the national and international literature that reducing smoking/alcohol use, regular physical exercise, and an herbal diet are healthy lifestyle behaviors, and that these practices reduce CVD risk factors by lowering HbA1C, lipid, and blood pressure [ 9,21,22,23]. In addition, in the systematic review published by Barbareso et al. (2018), healthy living behaviors include sleeping patterns, medical controls, and social activity . In this study, similar to the literature, the exercise status, diet and medical controls of individuals with diabetes were examined.
As a result of the research, it was determined that although very few of the individuals with Type-2 DM exercise regularly, the majority of them consume enough fruit/vegetables daily, prefer healthy foods for snacks, go to their medical controls, have EKGs, and have their blood sugar and cholesterol levels measured. This situation positively affects the cardiovascular disease risk factors knowledge level of individuals with Type-2 DM. In other words, these individuals are more aware of CVD risk factors than other individuals. However, in the regression analysis, it is seen that health-protective behaviors (9.1%) and positive eating habits (9%) explain only a small part of the CVD risk factor knowledge level. This situation can be interpreted as that health behaviors are affected by social and cultural variables other than the level of knowledge.