The Diabetes and Heart Connection
Understanding the connection could save your life
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
Understanding the connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease is important, because you can lower the risk of having a heart attack or ischemic stroke by following a healthy lifestyle plan which includes omega-3 fatty acids.
Here are the many ways that omega-3s can protect your heart:
Omega-3s Can Decrease Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular Disease is one of the major causes of death in the world. The American Heart Association states, “Omega-3 fatty acids with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of – or who have – cardiovascular disease.”  Numerous studies have shown that omega 3 consumption can significantly reduce this incidence.
An analysis of 18 randomized, controlled studies examining the effect of omega 3 fish oil supplementation on patients with type 2 diabetes, found that fish oil lowered triglyceride levels by 31 mg/dl, decreasing their risk for development of cardiovascular disease.
Another analysis of 18 randomized controlled studies, showed patients supplementing with fish oil/omega 3 had 25% lower triglyceride levels, 36% lower LDL-cholesterol levels, and 39.7% lower LDL-triacylglycerol levels. A 16 year long study including approximately 5,000 women with type 2 diabetes, found that those with a high consumption of fish oil/omega 3 had a significantly lower incidence of coronary heart disease and a significantly lower total mortality. Therefore, people that are insulin resistant or have type 2 diabetes should include consumption of omega 3’s as a part of their daily regimen as a means of cardio protection.
The reduction in triglyceride levels by omega 3 fatty acids is also attributed to a decrease in the production of very-low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are responsible for the transport of triglycerides, phospholipids, and cholesterol. One study found that daily supplementation with fish oil resulted in a 66% reduction in triglyceride levels and a 78% reduction in LDL levels.
Omega-3s as an Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation has been reported as being responsible for numerous diseases including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and several others. Omega 3 supplementation can reduce serum levels of markers of inflammation. DHA supplementation has also been shown to reduce inflammation as measured by decreased levels of other markers of inflammation.
Ischemic Stroke Improvements
Approximately 795,000 Americans suffer from a new or recurrent stroke each year and more than 143,000 of those result in death. It is well documented that increased fish consumption is correlated with a reduced risk in ischemic stroke and stroke mortality. Both women and men that consume omega 3 fatty acids significantly reduce their risk of ischemic stroke. The protective effect of omega 3 fatty acids are due, in part, to its ability to inhibit platelet aggregation as well as a reduce whole blood viscosity.
The anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 fatty acids are thought to protect against atherosclerosis. Several studies have shown that daily supplementation with as little as 1 gram of EPA and DHA can significantly decrease the risk of developing atherosclerosis. In addition to reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis, omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, also slow the progression of the disease.
Omega-3s Can Reduce Hypertension (High blood pressure)
Daily supplementation with 2-3 grams or more of fish oil has been shown to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Analysis of 90 randomized studies concluded that supplementation with more than 2 grams of fish oil daily results in a reduction of systolic blood pressure by 2.1 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.6 mmHg.
NOTE: Consult your doctor first to make sure my recommendations fit your special health needs.
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