Tempe, Arizona (NAPSI) - Did you know that GRAMMY® Award−winning music producer and American Idol judge Randy Jackson is one of the nearly 26 million Americans in the United States living with diabetes?

In 2003,Jacksonwas diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Now he is sharing his story to “drum up” awareness of 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.

Jacksonis working with Merck on the Taking Diabetes to Heart program, to help educate people with type 2 diabetes about the importance of early and effective management of the ABCs of diabetes – A1C, or blood sugar, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol – as part of their treatment plan, which can help reduce the risk of serious complications, including heart disease.

“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,” recallsJackson. “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 ABCs.”

To help “set the stage” for others living with type 2 diabetes to commit to a diabetes-friendly lifestyle, Jackson is encouraging patients to visit TakingDiabetesToHeart.com to learn how they can take their diabetes to heart and make a pledge to help better manage their disease. Those who make the pledge will have access toJackson’s personal tips and example questions to ask their doctors about ways to help manage diabetes.

Some of Randy’s favorite tips include:

• “Hit Your Notes” — Work with a doctor to come up with a personalized treatment plan and set individualized goals for the ABCs.

• “Tune Up” Your Diet — Eat smaller portions, fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, and keep track of carbs.

• Drop a Few Pounds — Losing weight isn’t always easy but even a small amount of weight loss can help reduce health risks.

• “Move to Your Own Groove” —It’s not always easy to get to the gym but there are simple, everyday activities that can help.

• Gather Your Fans — Involve family and friends — a little support goes a long way.

• Know When to Quit — People who smoke and have diabetes have an even higher risk of heart attack or stroke. QUIT.