Diabetes and Heart Disease - A Critical Connection

Heart disease and diabetes often go hand in hand, sharing a complex and interdependent relationship. The presence of diabetes increases the risk of developing heart disease and upon onset, it accelerates the progression of heart disease and increase the severity of its complications. Given the significantly increased risk, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.

What are the chances of a diabetic developing heart disease?

According to the CDC, individuals with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to those without diabetes. Studies indicate that approximately 32.2% of individuals with type 2 diabetes are affected by cardiovascular disease.

Why individuals with diabetes are at higher risk of developing heart disease?

Consistently elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage to both blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart. As a result, people with diabetes are more susceptible to developing other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease. These conditions include the following

  1. High blood pressure: It raises the force of blood flowing through the arteries and can cause damage to artery walls.
  2. High blood sugar levels are converted into triglycerides, which are the storage units for excess energy in our bodies. Triglycerides are believed to contribute to the hardening of arteries.
  3. Diabetes creates an inflammatory state in the body, leading to the accumulation of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream. This excess LDL cholesterol, along with low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, can form plaque on damaged artery walls, commonly known as blockages in the arteries.

What can be done to prevent or postpone heart disease in diabetes?

A tight control with an HbA1c level between 7.1% and 7.8% is desirable for preventing cardiovascular disease in diabetes. This can be achieved by following a disciplined lifestyle in terms of diet and physical activity and mental health.

The basic principles of a healthy heart diet are straightforward - opt for a diverse, mostly plant-based eating plan abundant in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It's important to minimize the consumption of processed foods to regulate the levels of sugar, fat, and salt in your diet. In addition to selecting the right foods, the cooking methods you employ are crucial. Choose techniques like steaming, simmering, and sautéing, as they help retain essential nutrients compared to frying.

Active lifestyle involving regular aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching and Yoga, are crucial for enhancing your good cholesterol and reducing bad cholesterol level. Apart from this a sound sleep of 7-8 hours combined with pranayama and meditation to deal with the stress which is again a very important factor that can aggravate the disease can be tamed at the initial stage to avoid complications.

You can also consider to include Actifiber Natural Sugar Control a part of your diet plan, it has a low Glycaemic Response of just 25 which avoids blood sugar spikes and helps you maintain the tight control of HbA1c in healthier range mentioned above and thereby reducing the risk of developing heart disease and improve your quality of life in the long run.

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