The relationship between heart disease and type 2 diabetes
Many people don’t fully understand the relationship between heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Although diabetes is treatable having the condition greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Smoking and having hypertension (high blood pressure) and high cholesterol increases your risk even more. According to the American Heart Association adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.1
- Lose weight
If you’re carrying extra weight on your body losing even a small percentage of your body weight can reduce your blood pressure and blood glucose. If you’re not sure where to start there is no need to feel overwhelmed. Making lifestyle changes such as limiting dining out avoiding fast food and eating plenty of vegetables with your meals can help you start losing weight. Small consistent changes made over a long period of time can add up to big results when it comes to weight loss.
2. Stay active
We have all heard the advice to exercise regularly. But what does that mean for people who have diabetes? According to the American Heart Association people should get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days per week.2 Don’t worry if you are pressed for time. You can exercise in shorter 10-minute segments to meet this requirement. The American Diabetes Association also encourages people to get up every 30 minutes to engage in some light activity to avoid long periods of being sedentary. This small lifestyle change can help improve blood sugar control.
3. Manage cholesterol
Knowing your cholesterol numbers is an important part of good heart health especially if you have diabetes. If your cholesterol is high it can build up inside the heart’s blood vessels creating what’s known as plaque. Excess plaque can narrow your arteries slowing blood flow. Narrowed arteries can lead to a heart attack stroke or other cardiac disease. If you have high cholesterol your doctor can give you a low-cholesterol diet and in some cases medications to reduce your cholesterol levels. A healthy diet that is high in fiber along with an exercise program can also help you lower your cholesterol.
4. Keep blood glucose levels in check
If you have diabetes maintaining a healthy blood glucose level is key to managing your condition. A good fasting blood sugar number should be less than 120 between 70 and 130 before a meal and less than 180 after eating a meal. Other lifestyle tips that can help you manage diabetes include following a healthy meal plan. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you understand how much to eat and the types of food you should eat. Tracking the number of carbohydrates you consume is just one part of a healthy nutrition plan that will help you keep your blood glucose numbers in check.
5. Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure can also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s why it’s important to keep your blood pressure in check especially if you have diabetes. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because many people have the condition and don’t even realize it. According to the American Heart Association people with diabetes need to be diligent about getting their blood pressure checked regularly. That’s because studies suggest a link between high blood pressure and insulin resistance.3 Talk to your doctor about how often you need your blood pressure checked.
Fortunately you can take steps to prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Making lifestyle changes improving your nutrition staying active and exercising daily can help you maintain good health while managing your diabetes. If you need weight loss and exercise guidance your health care provider or a nutritionist can help you get started on the road to new lifestyle habits. You can also contact Reid Endocrinology Center if you have concerns about diabetes.
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