Focus on Diabetes for American Heart Month
Is diabetes putting you at risk for heart disease?
February is American Heart Month! It’s time to love your family and friends, but more importantly, it’s time to show some love to your own heart. And, if you have diabetes, you might be at higher risk for heart troubles.
Heart disease is a serious problem in America. It remains a top killer, and is the #1 killer of women in our country. But, there is good news: you can do a lot to prevent heart disease.
Some quick tips for heart health:
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
HealthStar tip: trick yourself! Park far away from the store to get a couple of extra walking minutes in. Gardening, household chores and sports all count as exercise, too.
Increase your veggie and fruit intake, and reduce processed sugar.
Focus on stress relief.
If you smoke, STOP!
Check in with your HealthStar provider to keep tabs on your blood pressure, cholesterol numbers and other key heart health indicators.
But what if you have diabetes?
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you’re at higher risk for developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other conditions that contribute to diseases of the heart and blood vessels. And, people with diabetes are more likely to develop heart conditions at a younger age.
The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be a major controllable factor in heart disease. That’s both good and bad, because although diabetes can put you at higher risk for heart trouble … controlling your diabetes means your risk for heart disease gets lowered, too!
Ultimately, if you’re determined to keep your diabetes under control with lifestyle and proper medication, you’re also lowering your risk of heart disease.
The link between diabetes and heart disease.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, having uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of heart and circulatory problems. In fact, they say:
“Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease.”
Other factors that can raise the risk of heart disease if you have diabetes include:
High blood pressure
Family history of heart disease
So, what can you do about it?
It can be frightening to learn that your diabetes might be putting you at risk for life-threatening conditions. Properly managing your diabetes is the best way for you to lower your risk of heart disease. Know the ABCs of diabetes management!
A: A1C test to show your average blood glucose levels over three months.
B: Blood pressure of 140/90, or lower. Ask your doctor for your personal blood pressure goal.
C: Cholesterol. The key here is balance. Ask your healthcare provider where your good and bad cholesterol numbers should be.
What if you’ve been diagnosed with both diabetes and heart disease?
Your healthcare provider will walk you through the best options. You may be prescribed blood pressure medications, or medication to lower cholesterol, along with your prescription to manage diabetes.
Remember, a healthy lifestyle for diabetes management will also improve your heart health! Sometimes, small steps make a big impact. Tend to your ABCs, exercise a little more, eat a little better, and you’ll be surprised at how much healthier you will be.
Support for those with diabetes.
Chronic diseases like diabetes take a toll on your body, and your mind. It can feel overwhelming to adjust to a new lifestyle of managing your diabetes. It helps to connect with others who are going through the same thing. You’re not alone! Click here to find support.
Surviving a trauma like a heart attack can also take an emotional toll. Read this article to find out more about finding support.
Find a partner in HealthStar.
For those in the Lakeway Area and Knoxville, HealthStar Physicians offers the expertise and compassion you need to feel empowered about your health, close to home. Living with diabetes can be complicated--getting the healthcare you need shouldn’t be.
Contact your HealthStar Physicians medical professional today.
Visit our blog at healthstartn.org/blog for more information about medical conditions, healthy living and more.