"I felt like I was having a heart attack": Woman urging other diabetics to seek aggressive treatment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than one in ten people in Shelby County suffer from either type one or type two diabetes.

Aubrey Semien is one of them.

She recently had her own wake-up call that immediately put her on the lookout for signs of deadly trouble.

"I felt like I was having a heart attack. Twice," Semien said.

Semien thought her only issue was Type 2 Diabetes.

But, the more problems she had, the more concerned she became. Semien feared she was having a heart attack.

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”I've had two friends who've had heart attacks,” Semien said. ”Being an African American woman at 60 years old, it's a high risk."

According to the latest data from the American Heart Association, African Americans with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease.

All diabetics are two times more likely to have a heart attack, and every two minutes, a diabetic is hospitalized or killed by a stroke.

Dr. Basar Shala is one of the leading cardiologists in the Mid-South.  He explained to FOX13 how high blood sugar can wreak havoc on the heart.

"High blood pressure, high cholesterol.  And the things that will continue to cause the deposition of cholesterol plaque in the arteries.  That leads to things like strokes and heart attacks."

The correlation between the two health factors has become clearer meaning more diabetes specialists are now taking a much different approach.

They're teaming up with heart doctors and outlining a more aggressive treatment.

For more information on the treatment, watch Darrell Greene’s full report above.