Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease (also known as cardiovascular disease) by two to four times if poorly controlled. Reduce your risk of heart disease and manage your blood sugar by following these three tips from the Lake Health Diabetes Education Center:
The Mediterranean diet has been proven to reduce heart disease risk. This diet emphasizes vegetables and fruits (8 to 10 servings per day); replaces butter with olive oil and canola oil; and favors fish or chicken (twice a week) while limiting red meat (less than once a week). Dietary salt increases blood volume and worsens blood pressure. To help manage blood pressure, try flavoring your food with herbs and spices, and consume less than 2300 mg of salt per day. Read more about the Mediterranean diet.
To maintain heart health, adults with diabetes should exercise at least 150 minutes per week. The goal is not to become an Olympic athlete but to consistently engage in moderate physical activity. The exercise should be spread over at least three days per week with no more than two consecutive days without exercise. Finally, your exercise program should include resistance training at least twice a week.
People with diabetes are often prescribed medicines for cholesterol and blood pressure to reduce heart disease risk. Your doctor may recommend you try a moderate or high intensity statin in addition to a low fat diet for cholesterol and ACE-inhibitors or ARBs for high blood pressure. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors) are medications that widen or dilate the blood vessels to improve the amount of blood the heart pumps, which can help protect your kidneys from the effects of hypertension and diabetes. Better A1C leads to better lipid management for those with diabetes. These medicines support healthy lifestyles but are not a replacement. Aspirin is useful for adults with diabetes over age 50 with at least one heart disease risk factor. Learn about aspirin therapy and other recommended medications from the American Heart Association. It's important to take all these medicines as advised by your doctor every day to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Lake Health Diabetes Education Center is committed to helping you manage your diabetes with expert treatment and education. Learn more by calling 440-354-1622.