Most people living with diabetes are aware that they have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. But the statistics can be truly staggering regarding heart disease and the diabetes.
As a result, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while the cells are starved of energy. Over time, high blood glucose levels damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death among people with diabetes
The Connection Between Heart Disease and Diabetes
The connection between diabetes and heart disease starts with high blood sugar levels. With time, the high glucose in the bloodstream damages the arteries, causing them to become stiff and hard.
Fatty material that builds up on the inside of these blood vessels can eventually block blood flow to the heart or brain, leading to heart attack or stroke. Your risk of heart disease with diabetes is further elevated if you also have a family history of cardiovascular disease or stroke.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about 65 percent of people with diabetes actually die of heart disease or stroke, and a person with diabetes has twice the chance of developing heart disease as someone without diabetes. connection.
DID YOU KNOW?
A person with diabetes who has had one heart attack has a much greater risk of having another.
A middle-aged person who has diabetes has the same chance of having a heart attack as someone who is not diabetic, but already had a heart attack.
People with diabetes develop cardiovascular disease at a much earlier age than others.
People with diabetes who have
heart attacks are more apt to die as a result.
People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes.
There's a big link between diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also called cardiovascular disease. Clogged blood vessels can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other problems. But there are treatments for heart disease, stroke, and blood vessel disease.
If you believe you are at a higher risk for heart disease, don' despair. There are several small lifestyle changes you can make to not only help prevent heart disease, but also manage your diabetes more effectively because there is a heart disease and diabetes connection.
Ways to protect your heart if you have Diabetes:
Be active. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week. If you don’t have time for all 30 minutes at once, break it down in to 10-minute segments.
Consider low-dose aspirin. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a low dose of aspirin every day, which may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and is recommended by the American Heart Association. However, there are risks, and aspirin therapy is not for everyone.
Eat a heart-healthy diet. Reduce consumption of high-fat and cholesterol-laden foods such as fried foods, red meats, and eggs, and eat more high-fiber foods, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. A recent study conducted at the University of Warwick in England linked high-fat meals to inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes, which is associated with heart disease.
If you're overweight, try to shed the pounds. Seek the help of a registered dietitian to come up with a healthy but reasonable diet that you can maintain.
Keep blood cholesterol levels within target ranges. LDL (bad) cholesterol should be below 100; HDL (good) cholesterol should be higher than 40 in men and higher than 50 in women. Triglycerides should be lower than 150.
Keep your blood glucose level within the target range. Your doctor will help you to determine the right range. You can check on your efforts by having A1C tests at least twice a year; these reveal your average blood sugar level for the most recent two to three months. Most people should aim for an A1C of seven or below.
Maintain a controlled blood pressure level, preferably 130/80 or lower. Be sure to have your pressure checked during every visit to your doctor's office.
Quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about getting help when you're ready to quit.
Take all of your medications as prescribed.
Paying for Diabetes Care and Supplies
Some seniors having difficulty paying for their diabetes care and supplies. If that is you, or a loved one, contact the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).
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