With heart disease being so prevalent, we want to do what we can to stay as heart healthy as possible. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes, you may need to take extra steps to reduce your risk.
People with diabetes have several pre-existing conditions that put them at a high risk for heart disease. In fact, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than those who do not have diabetes. The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be among the seven major risk factors for cardiovascular issues.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons people with diabetes are at risk for heart disease.
High Blood Pressure
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body not producing enough insulin or resisting insulin. Insulin resistance raises blood pressure making the heart work harder to pump blood. This increases the risk of a cardiac incident.
Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels
Diabetes tends to lower good cholesterol levels and raises triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels. This is a common condition in people with premature coronary heart disease. It can also lead to lipid disorders like atherogenic dyslipidemia or diabetic dyslipidemia.
Obesity is a major cause of both diabetes and heart disease. It increases insulin resistance making diabetes more likely to occur. It also increases bad cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure so the heart needs to work harder to function. Losing weight reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
What Can Be Done
The factors listed above contribute to diabetes and heart disease and can negatively affect longevity and quality of life. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep yourself healthy and disease free. Here are some recommendations.
Regular exercise lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise and at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week to stay healthy and engage in moderate to high intensity muscle building activity at least twice a week.
Keep Diabetes Under Control
People with diabetes can keep it under control by taking medications to manage blood sugar. Diets that are high in carbs with added sugar can also negatively affect blood glucose levels. Foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and non-fat or low-fat milk are recommended healthy carb choices.
Smoking will increase the risk of heart disease and should be avoided whether you have diabetes or not. If you are a smoker, reach out so you can find the best way to kick the habit.
Heart disease and diabetes makes a dangerous combination. If you are dealing with either or both of these conditions, it’s important to take steps to get healthy. What will you be doing to boost your wellbeing?