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Diabetes and Heart Disease: A Deadly Duo

Diabetes and Heart Disease: A Deadly Duo

three women talking, diabetes and heart disease

Type 2 diabetes rarely arrives by itself. Instead, it travels with a host of additional medical conditions ranging from dry, itchy skin to an increased chance of heart disease. In fact, patients with Type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than people without Type 2 diabetes. In addition to monitoring A1C levels, your provider should monitor your risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Heart disease increases in people with Type 2 diabetes because high glucose levels can damage arteries causing them to become stiff and hard. When fatty materials build up on the inside of these arteries it can block the flow of blood to the heart or brain causing a heart attack or stroke.

Not the news you wanted to hear, we know. We’re not excited about it either. However, people with Type 2 diabetes can take a few steps to decrease both their blood glucose levels and their risk of heart disease all at the same time.

Get Moving

Whether you’re trying to improve your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, weight or energy levels, one recommendation remains a constant. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week. Break that down into ten-minute increments three times a day if needed, but get moving. Your future self will thank you.

Lose Weight if You’re Carrying Extra Pounds

Not only does obesity decrease your body’s ability to manage insulin and increase your chances of diabetes, it puts extra pressure on your heart and lungs to do their jobs properly. And truth be told, it probably makes you feel bad which can prevent you from getting the exercise you need. It’s a vicious cycle that’s not easy to break. Work with a nutritionist, your medical provider, and an exercise coach if necessary to create a routine that helps you lose the weight and keep it off.

Stop Smoking

You know you need to. Cigarettes not only increase your chances for lung cancer but they decrease blood flow to your legs and feet which prevents healing. Smoking also increases your already high chances of heart disease. If you’ve tried quitting smoking unsuccessfully in the past, it might be time to ask your medical provider for help.

Talk to Your Provider about Aspirin Therapy

Aspirin therapy isn’t for everyone but for some patients a low-dose of aspirin every day reduces the risk of heart disease. The therapy comes with its own risks so talk to your provider about whether or not it might be option for you.

Improve Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

Your diet, exercise, and weight affect more than just your blood glucose, but sometimes you need some extra help to bring your cholesterol and blood pressure under control. Ask your provider about monitoring these levels and whether medication would help you better control your cholesterol and blood pressure.

Eat Well

We all love eating good foods. Good foods can be healthy. With help from a nutritionist or website like diabetes.org, you can find great tasting recipes that meet the nutritional guidelines your body needs.

Diabetes may affect all aspects of your life, but it doesn’t have to cut your life short. Find renewed energy and health by focusing on just one of these strategies this month. If you do not have a provider to help you manage your diabetes and heart health, contact us. We’re happy to see you!

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