How Diabetes and Heart Disease Are RelatedThe 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
- 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 DiabetesIf 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.
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!!-