How Sweet It Isn’t!

It’s Valentines Day, time for all matters of the heart! And for Baby Boomers and older adults, that sometimes brings thoughts of heart health…or illness.

Love your heart!
Love your heart!

Heart disease continues to be the number one killer in the country. When you think of heart disease, you might come up with words like cholesterol, plaque, angina or stroke. But do you think of diabetes? It’s a deadly combination many people are not familiar with.

Strange Partners
Simply put, diabetes is a disease in which there’s too much sugar (glucose) in the blood because the pancreas isn’t working correctly. Cardiovascular (heart) disease generally results from narrowed or blocked blood vessels, ultimately leading to a heart attack or stroke. How are these two conditions related?

Over time, high blood glucose can damage blood vessels and nerves that control the heart and blood vessels.  Also, people who have diabetes have other risk factors that increase the chance of heart disease, including abdominal fat, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Here’s some information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK):
• In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death and illness are heart disease and stroke.
• Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes.
• The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances you will develop heart disease.
• People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than those without diabetes.
• Cardiovascular disease is the largest contributor to direct and indirect costs for people with diabetes.
• Controlling cardiovascular risk improves outcomes for people with diabetes.

Watch Your ABCs
NIDDK recommends the following strategies for folks with diabetes to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy:
A: A1C. An A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. It is a better predictor of diabetes control and risk for health problems than daily blood glucose testing. For many people with diabetes, an  A1C goal is less than 7%.
B: Blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder, and can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and kidney problems.  The goal for people with diabetes is a blood pressure reading of less than 140/90.
C: Cholesterol. “Bad” cholesterol (LDL) can cause blood vessels to become clogged, leading to heart attack or stroke. “Good” cholesterol (HDL) helps remove cholesterol from the body. Check with your physician regarding your cholesterol goals.
S: Smoking. Smoking narrows arteries and stresses your heart. If you smoke, stop!

Check with your healthcare provider for help with lifestyle changes to protect your heart, especially if you have diabetes.

Wishing you a happy Valentine’s Day today–and for years to come!

If you’re looking for other ways to manage your diabetes and heart health, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

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