Diabetes is a condition that requires a regimented treatment plan and regular medical check-ups. However, as people with diabetes have a greater risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a heart attack, careful monitoring and management of their condition can benefit their heart, too.
Diabetes and heart health
Diabetes can lead to high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, high levels of glucose in the blood can damage the walls of the arteries making it easier for fatty deposits to collect within them and increasing the risk of a heart attack.
There are, however, several steps diabetics can take to control and reduce these risk factors:
- Eat healthily: Switch to a healthy diet and follow a balanced meal plan. An annual visit to a dietician will help keep you on track.
- Exercise regularly: Try to work out for 30 minutes, five times a week. Speak to your doctor for advice on the type of exercise that will be most beneficial and suitable for you.
- Manage your weight: Being overweight, or carrying excess belly fat can increase your risk of heart disease, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Your doctor will be able to advise you on your ideal weight range to reduce your risks.
- Quit smoking: Quitting can improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and boost overall heart health. If you’re struggling to give up, visit a smoking cessation specialist for help.
- Monitor blood glucose levels: Test your blood glucose levels as advised by your doctor. Try to stay within your recommended blood glucose range, keep a note of your levels and contact your doctor to discuss any changes.
- Check your cholesterol: Get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels tested every year, or as directed by your doctor.
- Monitor your blood pressure: Have regular blood pressure checks and be aware of your ideal blood pressure reading.
- Attend medical appointments: Don’t skip your check-ups and don’t be afraid to contact your doctor for any concerns you have or any changes you notice in your health.