Diabetes and Your Heart
Diabetes is one condition that must be treated as soon as it is diagnosed, even though in its early stages it doesn’t hurt, or cause inconvenience, or create any worrisome symptoms. But ignoring it is a mistake because the blood sugar imbalance we diabetics live with can cause a variety of complications, even leading to other serious health conditions. One major cause for concern is adverse effects on our hearts. Our unstable blood sugar levels can cause poor circulation—a big step on the road to heart problems. Here are some things to watch for.
Diabetes often goes hand-in-hand with high blood pressure or hypertension. In fact, your doctor will tell you that diabetics must work to get their blood pressure down even lower than other people. While a systolic pressure (the top number) of 140 might be acceptable for the general population, diabetics should aim for 130 or lower. It’s all part of the battle against possible heart disease.
Cholesterol and triglycerides, or blood fats, also need to be kept lower in diabetics. Lots of fruits and vegetables, fewer packaged or fried foods are your best bets for dietary blood fat control. Throw out that frying pan!
Blood sugar levels need monitoring too, as consistently high levels damage blood vessels and can lead to cardiovascular difficulties.
And of course, you know it’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Why is that particularly important for us diabetics? First, if you are overweight your heart muscle needs to work harder to pump blood through your system. This weakens your blood vessels, which are then more susceptible to damage from fluctuating blood sugar levels. It’s a vicious cycle you don’t want to create. Your heart is the main engine of your whole body, so you need to do everything possible to keep it in good shape. For the sake of a healthy heart, take control of your diabetes.