Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects more than 100 million people in the United States! Managing diabetes or prediabetes is difficult on its own but these conditions also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
November is National Diabetes Month, an annual observance dedicated to raising awareness about diabetes. This month, make your health a priority by taking steps to improve your diabetes and heart health.
Luckily there are steps you can take this month to protect your heart and improve your health overall. Keep reading to learn how diabetes affects your heart and what you can do to help.
- High Blood Glucose
Diabetes can lead to a variety of health complications, including heart disease and stroke. This is because high blood glucose caused by diabetes can damage your blood vessels along with the nerves in your heart and blood vessels. Unfortunately, this can lead to heart disease over time.
People who have diabetes are more prone to heart disease at a younger age than those without it. Adults with diabetes are almost twice as likely to also have heart disease. Lowering your blood sugar levels can help to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- High Cholesterol Levels
Having diabetes often causes high cholesterol. This is when there is an increased amount of cholesterol in your blood. When “bad” cholesterol or LDL builds up in your blood it can clog your blood vessels and raise your risk of heart disease.
Visiting a heart specialist for regular check-ups can determine your current heart health and how to manage any early warning signs. You can also improve your cholesterol levels by eating a more plant-based diet and getting plenty of physical activity.
- Kidney Disease
When your kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood properly. Having diabetes raises your risk of developing kidney disease. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) has been linked to heart disease. This is partly because they share similar symptoms such as high blood sugar, obesity, unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, family history, and inactivity.
Over time, issues such as high blood sugar damage the kidneys. Their inability to filter blood properly puts further strain on your heart. When this happens, CKD can occur which causes the heart to have to pump harder to push blood to your kidneys. This can lead to heart disease.
Luckily the same positive healthy habits that reduce your risk of other diseases can also help you lower your risk of developing kidney disease. This includes quitting smoking, eating a diabetes-friendly diet, exercising regularly, and getting regular check-ups with your doctor.
- High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is when your heart has to work harder to pump your blood throughout your body. The strain on your heart over time increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease.
Unfortunately having diabetes means you are twice as likely to have high blood pressure. This also means you are four times more likely to develop heart disease. If you have diabetes it’s important to have your blood pressure tested regularly. Your doctor may decide to prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure and protect your heart.
- Chronic Smoking
If you are a smoker and also have diabetes, this is dangerous for your heart. This is because smoking and diabetes both narrow your blood vessels, causing further strain on your heart. Smoking also increases your chances of lung disease, foot or leg amputation, and lower leg infections and ulcers.
Quitting smoking today can instantly begin to help improve your health and reduce your risks. Even if you’ve been smoking for many years, quitting smoking now can make a difference.
Your health problems can increase if you have diabetes and are overweight. Obesity also raises your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Increasing your physical activity and eating healthily often leads to lower blood sugar levels.
If you want to lower your risk for heart disease, you can work with a specialist to help find a healthy plan to reduce your weight and excess belly fat. This can improve your overall health and prevent a variety of serious illnesses.
Take Steps to Improve Your Heart Health
The cardiovascular experts at HeartCare Associates of Connecticut provide comprehensive cardiac care at their state-of-the-art facilities and can provide the advanced medical management you need to improve your diabetes and heart health. Call us to request an appointment today! 203-407-2500
Don’t wait to take action toward better health this month. Let us help you gain peace of mind for you and your family by scheduling an appointment here.