Valentine’s Day isn’t the only thing going on in February. It is also American Heart Month. Many people are not aware of the close connection between diabetes and heart disease, but heart disease is actually one of the most common complications of diabetes. It’s so common that having diabetes actually doubles your risk for heart attack or stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the top enemies of those suffering from diabetes.
Heart health should always be a concern, but for people with diabetes, it is extremely important. Diabetes is a disorder in which your body does not produce or process insulin correctly and is often directly connected to cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies have shown that a person with diabetes has twice the chance of developing heart disease as someone without this condition.
Heart and vascular disease often go hand-in-hand with diabetes. Persons with diabetes are at a much greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Other vascular problems due to diabetes include poor circulation to the legs and feet. Unfortunately, many of the cardiovascular problems can go undetected and can start early in life.
Keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in target range is a must. Making healthy lifestyle choices is essential to reach and stay in those target ranges. What you eat can have a great impact on those target levels.
The blood vessels in patients with diabetes are more susceptible to other well-established risk factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and most patients with diabetes have one or more of these additional risk factors.
The connection between diabetes and heart disease starts with high blood glucose (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.
Risk Factors for a Diabetic Developing
All diabetics are more likely to develop heart disease if some or all of the following risk factors are involved:
• High (bad) cholesterol
• Low (good) cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• High triglycerides
• Lipid disorders
• Little to no exercise
• Uncontrolled blood sugar
A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel to the heart becomes blocked. With blockage, not enough blood can reach that part of the heart muscle and permanent damage results. During a heart attack, you may have chest pain or discomfort pain or discomfort in your arms, back, jaw, neck, or stomach shortness of breath sweating nausea light-headedness.
Symptoms may come and go. However, in some people, particularly those with diabetes, symptoms may be mild or absent due to a condition in which the heart rate stays at the same level during exercise, inactivity, stress, or sleep. Also, nerve damage caused by diabetes may result in lack of pain during a heart attack.
The good news is that there are steps to take to reduce your risk for heart disease if you have diabetes.Even though the statistics may point to an increased risk of developing heart disease if you have diabetes, there’s a lot you can do in terms of prevention:
.Be active. Aim for about 30 minutes of exercise most days.
.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 cardio-vascular disease.
.Eat a heart-healthy diet. Reduce consumption of high-fat and fried foods and eggs, and eat more high-fiber foods, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Try to limit prepared snack foods because many contain trans fats, which contribute to diabetes and heart disease.
Approximetely 85% of diabetics end up with cardiovascular disease. That is why risk factor modification, especially early in the disease is so important.
The American Diabetes Association recomends 45 minutes of heart elevating exercise five days a week. This doesn’t mean you have to own a treadmill, as even a 45 minute brisk walk will meet this exercise goal. Usually golfing and walking the dog don’t meet this exercise goal.
70% of your bodies glucose (sugar) is utilized by skeletal muscle, thus the more active you are, the better your glycemic (sugar) control.
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.
.Keep your blood glucose level within the target range. Your doctor can help you to determine the right range.
.Maintain a controlled blood pressure level.
Diabetes is a common disease, yet every individual needs unique care. People with diabetes and their families need to learn as much as possible about the latest medical therapies and approaches, as well as healthy lifestyle choices. Good communication with experts can help you feel in control and respond to changing needs you might experience. Dr. Kilo with Millennium Physician Group Naples is a long term health provider who specializes in diabetes. If you are having health concerns related to your diabetes or suspect you might have diabetes contact Dr. Kilo and make your appointment to come in for a consultation immediately. Early treatment is the best strategy for fighting diabetes and other diseases that could arise from complications of diabetes.
1495 Pine Ridge Rd., Suite 4 – Naples, FL 34109
239-594-5456 | www.MillenniumPhysician.com