People with diabetes face a higher than average risk of having a stroke or heart attack. These heart problems strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as those who don’t have it. Discover the major link between heart disease and diabetes and what you can do about it.
- Two out of three people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease. Knowledge is power and can help you lower the risk of heart disease and related health issues.
- Be aware of your A1C blood glucose levels. Less than 7 percent is the goal, which is an average blood glucose level of 150 mg/dl. Schedule regular A1C testing and monitor your glucose levels regularly. Maintain proper blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Monitor your blood pressure during routine diabetes checkups. Aim for a blood pressure level under 130/80 mm Hg. Use an automatic blood pressure monitor at home to make sure your blood pressure is under control. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Schedule a complete cholesterol test, also called a lipid profile. It measures the types of fats in your blood including LDL, HDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol. HDL is the “good cholesterol” that carries away LDL cholesterol. This helps keep your arteries open so blood flows freely. High cholesterol causes fatty deposits that narrow arteries, reduce blood flow, and cause hardening of blood vessels. Monitor cholesterol levels to keep them under control.
- People with diabetes may have other risk factors. One is a family history of heart disease and stroke. Another is central obesity. This means a man’s waist is over 40 inches and a woman’s waist is over 35 inches. Abdominal fat increases the production of LDL, the “bad cholesterol.” High blood pressure, referred to as hypertension, is also risk factor that can strain your heart and damage blood vessels.
- Eat a healthy diet and use portion control plates to avoid overeating. Get regular exercise such as a daily walk. Gauge your progress using Omron pedometers so you can walk a little further each day. These healthy habits minimize risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure.
- A group of risk factors are called the metabolic syndrome, a major link to diabetes and heart disease. The National Cholesterol Education Program reports these factors include elevated waist circumference, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, elevated fasting blood glucose levels and low levels of HDL. Proper diet, regular exercise and losing weight reduce the risks of metabolic syndrome.
- Quit habits such as smoking that double your risk of getting heart disease. Eat at least 25 grams of fiber daily to help lower blood cholesterol and aid your over all health. Cut down on saturated fats and eliminate your intake of trans fats. Exercise at least 30 minutes daily and maintain a healthy body weight.
People with diabetes face related risk factors that increase the possibility of getting heart disease. Because of these risk factors, people with diabetes are more likely to face a heart attack or stroke. Proper care and healthy habits help reduce the risk of heart disease.