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How to Protect your Heart along with Diabetes?

Protect Your heart along with Diabetes
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Diabetes and heart disease frequently coexist. Learn how to protect your heart with easy lifestyle modifications that can also aid with diabetes management.

Heart disease is an extremely frequent and deadly condition. In the United States, it is the top cause of death for both men and women. Diabetes makes you twice as likely as someone who does not have diabetes to get heart disease or a stroke—and at a younger age. 

The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you will develop heart disease.

The good news is that by adopting certain lifestyle habits, you can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your heart health. These modifications will also assist you in better managing your diabetes.

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What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease refers to a variety of heart-related issues. 

The terms “cardiovascular disease” and “stroke” are similar, although they encompass all types of heart disease, stroke, and blood vessel illness. Coronary artery disease, which impairs blood flow to the heart, is the most frequent form.

Coronary artery disease is caused by plaque formation in the walls of the coronary arteries, which are the blood channels that give oxygen and blood to the heart. Plaque is made up of cholesterol deposits that restrict the inside of the arteries and reduce blood flow. 

This is referred to as atherosclerosis or artery hardening. A heart attack can be caused by a decrease in blood flow to the heart. A stroke can be caused by a decrease in blood flow to the brain.

Atherosclerosis can occur in various parts of the body as well as the arteries. It’s known as peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, in the legs and feet. PAD is frequently the first clue that a diabetic has cardiovascular disease.


What are the warning signs of Coronary Artery Disease CAD?

The most prevalent symptom of CAD is angina, or chest pain and discomfort. 

Angina occurs when too much plaque accumulates inside the arteries, causing them to constrict. Blood flow to your heart muscle and the rest of your body might block by narrowed arteries, which can cause chest pain.

A heart attack is often the first sign that a person has CAD. Among the symptoms of a heart attack are


  • Pain or discomfort in the chest (angina)
  • Weakness,
  • Dizziness,
  • Nausea (feeling ill to your stomach),
  • or Cold perspiration
  • Arm or shoulder pain or discomfort
  • Breathing difficulty

CAD can weaken the heart muscle over time. 


What are the symptoms and indicators of Peripheral Arterial Disease or PAD?

The most common sign of PAD is a pain in the legs during physical activity, such as walking, that improves with rest. 

However, up to four out of every ten persons with PAD have no leg pain. Walking-related pain, pains, or cramps (claudication) might occur in the buttock, hip, thigh, or calf.

  • Muscle atrophy (weakness);
  • Hair loss;
  • Smooth, shiny skin;
  • Skin that is cool to the touch, especially if accompanied by pain while walking ;
  • Decreased or absent pulses in the feet;
  • Sores or ulcers in the legs or feet that do not heal; and 
  • Cold or numb toes 

are all physical signs of PAD.


How Diabetes Affects Your Heart?

High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart over time. 

Diabetes patients are also more likely to have the following conditions, all of which increase their risk of heart disease:

1. High blood pressure raises the force of blood through your arteries and can damage the arterial walls. High blood pressure and diabetes      both raise your risk of heart disease.

2. Too much LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in your bloodstream can cause plaque to build on damaged artery walls.

3. High triglycerides (a form of fat in your blood) and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol are thought to lead to artery hardening.

There are no symptoms associated with any of these illnesses. Your doctor can examine your blood pressure and perform a simple blood test to detect if your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels are high.


These behaviors can also increase your risk of developing heart disease:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity and being overweight
  • Insufficient physical exercise
  • Consuming a high-fat, trans-fat, cholesterol, and sodium-rich diet (salt)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Diabetes patients are also more likely to develop heart failure. 

Heart failure is a critical ailment, but it does not indicate that the heart has ceased beating; rather, it indicates that your heart is unable to adequately pump blood. 

This can cause swelling in your legs and fluid buildup in your lungs, making breathing difficult. 

Heart failure worsens with time, although early diagnosis and treatment can help ease symptoms and prevent or postpone the condition from worsening.


Heart Disease Testing

Your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight will all assist your doctor in determining your overall risk for heart disease. 

Other tests to assess your heart health that your doctor may recommend include:

An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) 


ECG or EKG is a test that measures the electrical activity of your heart. An electrical impulse flowing through your heart causes your heartbeat.

An echocardiogram (echo)


Echo is used to determine the thickness of your heart muscle and how well your heart pumps.

An exercise stress test 


Treadmill test is to determine how well your heart works while stressed.

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How to protect your Heart?

These lifestyle modifications can help you minimize your risk of heart disease or keep it from worsening, as well as manage diabetes:

1.Maintain a healthy diet:


Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Reduce your consumption of processed foods (such as chips, sweets, and fast meals) and avoid trans external icon fat. Consume more water, fewer sugary beverages, and less alcohol.

2. Make an effort to maintain a healthy weight:


 If you’re overweight, even decreasing a small amount of weight will help lower your triglycerides and blood sugar levels. Modest weight reduction is defined as 5% to 7% of body weight or 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.

3. Be Active:


Physical activity increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin (the hormone that permits cells in your body to utilize blood sugar for energy), which aids in the management of diabetes.

 Physical activity also aids in blood sugar regulation and reduces your risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, such as brisk walking.

4. Manage your ABCs:


A: Get a frequent A1C test to determine your average blood sugar over two to three months; try to stay as close to your desired range as feasible.
B: Make an effort to keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or the target your doctor sets).
C: Keep an eye on your cholesterol levels.
s: Either quit smoking or don’t start.

5. Manage your anxiety:


Stress can elevate your blood pressure and lead to harmful behaviors such as binge drinking or overeating. Visit a mental health counselor instead, try meditation or deep breathing, get some exercise, or seek assistance from friends and family.

Your doctor may also recommend medications to help keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides within normal ranges.

6.Consult with Your Diabetes Educator:


Consult with diabetic care and education professional for assistance in avoiding health issues such as heart disease. You’ll get advice and answers, as well as learn about the most recent developments in diabetes management.

Diabetes education can assist you in taking the best possible care of yourself. If you don’t currently have a diabetes educator, ask your doctor for a referral.

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