There is a connection between everything we do in our lives; we are connected to other people in different ways. So it’s not surprising that there are connections between diseases too, such as heart disease and diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which affects almost all the parts of your body, including the heart. When you have diabetes, your pancreas and liver do not function properly. And, if your heart is not strong too; then you have a higher risk of stroke or heart attack. You may develop severe form of heart disease when you’re young. A healthy lifestyle would benefit both heart disease and diabetes. Read on to find out more about how diabetes and heart disease are interconnected and what you can do to beat both diseases:
The connection between diabetes and heart disease
Diabetes is one of the diseases that aggravate many other diseases; especially heart disease. There is a close relationship between diabetes and heart disease, as diabetes increases the risk factors of heart disease, such as high cholesterol and hypertension. If you have high blood sugar consistently, it makes your heart blood vessels vulnerable to atheroma. This is when the blood vessels narrow, because of bad cholesterol or LDL building up.
Due to the narrowing of the blood vessels; blood cannot flow freely through the body, and cannot reach the various organs. Limited blood supply to your brain may cause brain stroke. Sometimes, blood flow suddenly stops, leading to heart attack. This is how diabetes and heart diseases is interconnected. But following a diabetes and heart disease diet, can help you keep diabetes and heart disease in check.
Follow the ABCs of diabetes
Following the ABCs of diabetes are essential to control diabetes, which will help in avoiding or lowering the risk for heart disease due to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease which requires an overhaul of your unhealthy lifestyle – you have to eat healthy, exercise, stay stress free and basically follow a holistic lifestyle.
A stands for A1C
Whether you have been newly diagnosed or have had diabetes for some time, the A1C test lets you know the average blood sugar level over the last few months or weeks. It is very important to get this test done every few months, and show the reports to your doctor. He might advice a change in medicine, or a change in diet according to the test results. The relationship between diabetes and heart disease is quite interdependent, and if your sugar levels are low, your heart would be healthier too.
B for blood pressure
If you’re wondering why someone with diabetes has an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s because the narrow blood vessels caused by diabetes increases blood pressure as well. According to studies, almost 80% of Type 2 diabetics and 25% of Type 1 diabetes suffer have very blood pressure. High levels of blood pressure are linked to diseases like stroke, heart attack, and angina.
If your blood pressure has been consistently high (130/90 mmHG), you should visit a doctor, especially if you have diabetes as well. You may be given medication which you should take regularly. Diabetes and heart disease are therefore connected, controlling sugar levels with a diabetes and heart disease diet will keep you healthy and fit.
C for Cholesterol
Very few people know that cholesterol levels are connected to diabetes. Diabetes is often caused by improper diet full of fats and sugars, which contribute to higher levels of cholesterol as well. You must reduce unhealthy fats, for example, stop eating doughnuts, pastries, pizzas and other fried stuff.
How do you protect yourself from diabetes and heart disease?
Managing diabetes is easy if you stay informed and take all the precautions. If you want why does someone with diabetes have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s because diabetes increases cholesterol levels. Now that you have seen the ABCs of diabetes, you can take the steps below to keep diabetes and heart disease at bay.
Limit alcohol and quit smoking
Smoking is one of the bad habits which damages the lining of heart vessels and leads to fat build-up leading to narrowing of the arteries. Along with an unhealthy diet, heart disease and diabetes is difficult to control if you smoke. So quit smoking to check both diabetes and heart disease.
Alcohol intake is dangerous for blood glucose, as it interferes with diabetes medications. Sometimes, it might make your blood glucose dip dangerously low, which might result in insulin shock. Alcohol can also increase blood sugar level too. Excessive drinking leads to increased blood pressure, weakens heart muscles, increases risk of heart failure and cardiomyopathy.
Never ever binge drink if you have diabetes, because you might end up having diabetes and heart disease complications simultaneously. So drink only as much alcohol as permitted by the doctor, and if you are on diabetes medication, better to avoid it completely.
Control your stress
Stress is not just an emotional response to situations, but it causes some changes in your body too. Your body produces some hormones due to stress which leads to increased blood sugar levels. These hormones make your body less sensitive to the hormone insulin, which as you know regulates diabetes. Many people resort to smoking or drinking and binge-eating to deal with stress. But instead, taking up a sport which you like will help you at many levels. The adrenaline high will make you happier, which in turn will stop you from binge eating etc. Do go for counseling if your stress goes out of hand.
Most people these days have a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for long hours is extremely common. According to experts, you should take small breaks from sitting and just stretch or walk around your office. Walking, jogging, running and other forms of exercise will keep insulin levels down, heart healthy and make you feel better.
Think of having diabetes as a blessing in disguise, as it forces you to take a hard look at your lifestyle and food habits. You have to follow a nutritious diet and exercise regularly to remain healthy – it is tough at first, but once you get into the habit, you will be the one advising people on healthy food and fit lifestyle.