Having diabetes can put you at risk for developing serious cardiovascular health issues such as coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. Diabetes also increases your risk for other health issues, such as kidney disease and vision problems. It is therefore critical to understand and manage diabetes in order to reduce your risk of developing these and other health issues.
Understanding the Connection Between Diabetes and Cardiovascular Health
Diabetes affects how your body processes glucose, or sugar. It is important for your body to have the right amount of glucose in order for it to function properly. When you have diabetes, however, your body is unable to properly process glucose, leading to high levels of glucose in your blood.
High levels of glucose in the blood can damage the arteries, leading to hardening of these vessels and an increased risk of heart disease. Other health risks due to diabetes include: stroke, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure.
Managing Diabetes to Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Health Issues
The best way to reduce your risk of developing serious health issues due to diabetes is to manage your condition. Proper diabetes management includes:
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol, and high in fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
- Exercising regularly to help control your glucose levels and your weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week.
- Monitoring your blood glucose levels regularly and talking with your healthcare provider about any changes you need to make to your medications or diet.
- Staying up-to-date with your vaccinations, such as the flu shot and shingles vaccine, to help protect against complications of diabetes.
- Managing any other medical issues you might have, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.
By taking these steps and by working with your healthcare provider, you can help protect your cardiovascular health and avoid serious health issues due to diabetes.