Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Heart Disease

Most people living with diabetes are aware that they have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. But the statistics can be truly staggering: According to the National Institutes of Health, about 65 percent of people with diabetes actually die of heart disease or stroke, and a person with diabetes has twice the chance of developing heart disease, as someone without diabetes. To help protect your heart and manage your diabetes, read on to learn more about the connection.

How Diabetes and Heart Disease Are Related

The connection between diabetes and heart disease starts with high blood 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. Your risk of heart disease with diabetes, is further elevated if you also have a family history of cardiovascular disease or stroke.
Other heart facts to consider:

  • A person with diabetes who has had one heart attack has a much greater risk of
    having another.
  • A middle-aged person who has diabetes has the same chance of having a heart attack as someone who is not diabetic, but already had a heart attack.
  • People with diabetes develop cardiovascular disease at a much earlier age than others.
  • People with diabetes who have heart attacks, are more apt to die as a result.

Protecting Your Heart While Living With Diabetes

If you believe you are at a higher risk for heart disease, don’t despair. There are several small lifestyle changes you can make to not only help prevent heart disease, but also manage your diabetes more effectively.
  • Be active. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week. If you don’t have time for all 30 minutes at once, break it down in to 10-minute segments.
  • 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 cardiovascular disease and is recommended by the American Heart Association. However, there are risks, and aspirin therapy is not for everyone.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. Reduce consumption of high-fat and cholesterol-laden foods such as fried foods, red meats, and eggs, and eat more high-fiber foods, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
  • 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. LDL (bad) cholesterol should be below 100; HDL (good) cholesterol should be higher than 40 in men, and higher than 50 in women. Triglycerides should be lower than 150.
  • Keep your blood glucose level within the target range. Your doctor will help you to determine the right range. You can check on your efforts by having A1C tests at least twice a year; these reveal your average blood sugar level for the most recent two, to three months. Most people should aim for an A1C of seven, or below.
  • Maintain a controlled blood pressure level, preferably 130/80 or lower. Be sure to have your pressure checked during every visit to your doctor's office.
  • Quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about getting help when you're ready to quit.
  • Take all of your medications as prescribed.
If you have diabetes and develop heart disease, treatment — first and foremost — will include lifestyle changes such as those mentioned above. You might also need medication to lower your blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol level, and to treat any heart damage. In some cases, you may need surgery or another medical procedure to treat heart disease. Treatment for each person will be different, depending on the type of cardiovascular complication that you might have.

Finally, if you develop any symptoms of a heart attack, seek medical help immediately, because early treatment can decrease the potential damage to your heart. On November 9th, 2014, I had a heart attack. On November 10th, 2014, I had a triple bypass, ten days before my 50th birthday.. They had told my husband that my heart was so bad, they could not operate on me. Three different arteries were blocked, including my main artery. The main artery was 100% blocked, and very narrow. They told him, they were going to send me home with hospice care, and if I had one more heart attack, I would die. But, they took me into surgery anyway, and when they started the surgery , the artery inflated up enough, where they could perform the surgery. Praise God. I still have some blockages in my heart, but, I am alive, thank You Lord!!-


  1. My Dad has Type 2 Diabetes. When his levels went very high recently, he had to be in hospital. His doctor was most concerned about his heart (my Dad will be 89 this month) but was pleasantly surprised at his healthy heart. When I read the recommendations here, I see that for the most part, they remind me very much of him. (Also, not forgetting that genetics play a great role in heart health, his mother lived to 96.)

  2. I don't think people always appreciate the risks and difficulties living with diabetes involves. You're certainly broadening my knowledge. Plus I'm grateful for all your positive comments on my posts. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  3. We are always telling my mil she needs to get out and about and exercise...falling on death ears...anyways, thank you for being totally honest.

    Have a beautiful weekend, friend.

  4. Good information ! Just stopping in today to thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment too. I'm about to go out and clear some snow. The news just said it's wet and heavy and we should remember to take some breaks. It's called heart attack snow.

  5. Great information here. There is so much to learn!

  6. Great information. Thanks for visiting. Have a good weekend.

  7. Yes, protect your heart and also our "spiritual heart" :-) Great post here.

  8. Clearly God isn't ready to call you home yet, you have important messages to share! Little steps in the right direction can make a big difference in the long run! I am so glad you got another chance to make some changes in your life so that you can feel better and live longer. Coco needs you! :-)
    from Josie's Journal

  9. thanks for all this good info! my husband is diabetic

  10. Great post! My mom was diabetic and fortunately she didn't have heart disease. She was one of the lucky ones

  11. It is good to inform people about such an important subject. Thank you.

  12. Oh wow! I'm so glad you survived your heart attack. Great blog with great information! Thank you! Happy A-Zing. :)

  13. from one diabetic to another, this is an excellent write up and such an important warning. I'm seeing a cardiologist on the 20th. Now I must read your G section. I'm not that familiar with this problem, but may actually have it. We'll see. Thank you for this.

  14. Great post on this ugly disease, it was very informative. I have several health issues I have to deal with, fortunately at this time, diabetes isn't one of them.

  15. Great advice for preventing heart disease!

  16. Yes! Praise the Lord that you're still with us!

    David has diabetes. We both have very high blood pressure. We both have family history against us. Both of our fathers died of cardiac events. Mine from a heart attack and his from a dissecting aortic aneurysm. My maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather died of heart attacks. We think it was a heart attack that got David's paternal grandmother.

    Thank you for this information. I thought it very interesting that a diabetic has as much chance of a heart attack as a non-diabetic that has already had a heart attack. Very interesting!

    Have a blessed weekend!

  17. Heart disease should concern all of us, you have given great advice we can all follow. And thank heaven you survived!

  18. Sorry you went through all that you have but so glad they were able to do the surgery!
    This post is just another great reminder that I must continue on trying to eat better and be active.
    Thank you!

  19. practice Yoga regularly, thanks for stopping by my blog

  20. So glad your story has a happy (for now) ending. Scary.

    Liz A. from
    Laws of Gravity

  21. What a scary time that must have been!