Heart Disease in Diabetics & Ways to Prevent It
Diabetes and Heart Disease Overview
Diabetes is the “mother of all diseases” as it affects multiple organs of the body of an individual in some way or the other. Its timely detection and management are critically important. Otherwise, in the long run, it can cause several complications in a diabetic. Heart disease is one of the major complications of diabetes.
A diabetic (an individual who has diabetes) has a higher level of blood glucose than normal. On average, diabetics are twice as likely to become candidates for a heart attack than those who do not have diabetes. A heart attack is a consequence of heart disease.
However, the good thing is that a diabetic can prevent heart disease or lower its risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle. By acquiring healthy habits and taking a diabetic diet, you can delay any complications to the heart and also prevent them.
Why is It Necessary to Control Diabetes?
According to expert healthcare professionals, heart disease is common among diabetics. On average, about 50 out of 100 patients with diabetes suffer from myocardial infection, heart failure, or rhythm disturbance. Other than heart disease, diabetes also causes stroke and kidney disease in individuals.
Diabetes affects the blood vessels of the body. It acts as a silent killer and starts affecting all the organs of the body in some way or the other. Sometimes it may happen in a diabetic without their knowledge. Therefore, controlling diabetes is an absolute necessity for individuals.
An annual checkup is a must for you to prevent the complications of diabetes. It involves ECG, 2D, co-cardiography, and stress testing. Your doctor may recommend you these tests depending on their observations after examining the condition of your body. Even if you are healthy, you must undergo these tests to ensure that you are safe from diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will set up blood glucose and cholesterol level-related targets and suggest ways to achieve them. They will also suggest you adopt a healthy lifestyle and take a healthy diet. In addition, to prevent the possibility of heart disease, they will also advise you to exercise regularly, give up all forms of addiction, and have a sound sleep at night.
What Happens to the Heart When You Become Diabetic
Nerves and blood vessels in the body help with blood circulation. Both are connected to the heart. Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to high blood pressure, excessive LDL (bad cholesterol), and high triglycerides.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Some common diabetic symptoms include the following:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Tingling feet or hands
- Extreme fatigue
- Very dry skin
Diagnosis of Heart Disease
To find out whether you have heart disease or not, your doctor will check your blood pressure and the level of cholesterol in your body. Plus, they will also measure your body weight. It will help them assess the current state of your health and your likelihood of developing heart-related complications due to diabetes.
For a detailed insight into the health of the heart, your doctor may also recommend the following tests:
- An ECG or EKG (Electrocardiogram) to detect the electrical activity in the heart which causes an electrical impulse or a heartbeat
- An echocardiogram to find out the thickness of the heart muscle and the efficiency of the heart in pumping blood
- A treadmill test to find out more about the efficiency of the functioning of the heart.
How to Take Care of the Heart to Prevent Heart Disease
Compared to normal individuals, diabetics have a greater danger of developing heart disease. By working with a diabetes educator, you can find out more about how diabetes affects the heart and how you can manage it healthily. If you do not know a diabetes educator personally, you can ask for a referral from your doctor.
Taking the following actions will help you reduce the possibility of developing heart disease:
- Take a healthy diet: Avoiding processed foods and those that are high in trans fat is necessary for keeping diabetes at bay. Such foods include fast food, sweets, and chips. Embrace a healthy diet and include lean protein, grains, vegetables, and fruits in it. Cut down the consumption of alcohol and sweet drinks. Drink water instead.
- Maintain a healthy body weight: The right body weight helps minimize blood sugar and triglycerides.
- Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure: The average blood sugar level of your body may fluctuate, and you may not know about it for months. The best way to find it out is to monitor the level of blood sugar in the body through tests after every 3 or 4 months; you can know about it. Also, try to keep cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control to keep the heart healthy.
- Beat the stress factor and manage it well: Raising blood pressure aside, stress can also affect you mentally. As a result, your behavior may change, or you may start adopting unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking. Worse, you may even start overeating. See a mental health counselor and practice deep breathing to get relief from stress. Also, exercise daily to keep your stress level under control.
What is an Ideal Diabetic Diet?
Diabetics need to follow a rigid diet plan (a diabetic diet) comprising healthy carbohydrates and fiber-rich foods. It may also involve good fats. However, those who have diabetes must avoid foods involving saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
Diabetes is a silent killer and the source of many diseases or health complications. Though it is incurable, it can be managed by adopting a healthy lifestyle, taking a diabetic diet, and regularly exercising.