Even for basketball fans, the name Larry H. Miller probably doesn't ring a bell. He wasn't Michael Jordan and he didn't even play. What he did do was create a car dealership dynasty that allowed him to buy the NBA's Utah Jazz franchise and turn it into a powerhouse. So why did this successful man die recently at the age of 64? The answer is type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease and vascular dysfunction are two of the most prevalent complications of diabetes, and in the case of Larry H. Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz, they truly took their toll.

In June of 2008, Miller suffered a heart attack, and then spent nearly 2 months in the hospital due to complications. Upon leaving the hospital, he was confined to a wheelchair and eventually had to have his legs amputated just below the knee. Some people with diabetes have artery disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet. When blood and oxygen aren't reaching the tissues, they die. Miller's vascular problems became so acute that oxygen wasn't reaching the majority of his tissues. He passed away from these complications with his family at his side and a whole state and basketball team behind him.

Prevention is Key
Fortunately, blood pressure, triglycerides, and obesity are readily combated through lifestyle choices around diet and exercise. Lowering salt intake, eating a diet of lean protein, fruits, and vegetables, and exercising regularly are all necessary to mitigate these risks. Not only will this lower your risk for heart disease and stroke, but it will contribute to making your disease more manageable and in some cases reversible. If you are not adhering to a specific diet, you aren't reducing your BMI below the overweight/obese mark or are generally not keeping tight controls around your blood glucose levels. Complications due to diabetes are serious and should be treated with rigor. But with the right lifestyle change and a dedicated healthcare team, you can stay on top of your condition.