Monday, February 8, 2010

Diabetes Can Cause Cardiology Complications

by Helene King

Living with diabetes can be challenging by itself. However, if people with type 2 diabetes don’t manage their conditions, they could develop heart disease.

In fact, the numbers are frightening. Heart disease and strokes are the number one killers of people with type 2 diabetes. Both are responsible for the about 65 percent of the deaths of people with diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

That’s why it’s so important to understand the connection and to learn to take preventive methods.

Cardiologists and endocrinologists from Sinai Hospital and Northwest Hospital say the link makes sense. Diabetes happens when there is a breakdown in the way our bodies turn food into fat and energy. Most of the food we ingest is turned into glucose, also called blood sugar. Glucose is the primary fuel for our bodies. However, over time, if our blood glucose is too high, it can harm our blood vessels and nerves. That’s because both are an important part of our cardiovascular systems.

However, the news is not all doom and gloom. Each person has the power to control many factors associated with both diabetes and heart disease through education and determination.

It’s no surprise that eating healthy is a major factor in delaying or preventing these two health challenges. However, just as important is setting nutritional goals that each person is able to reach and then keep. It’s not question of going on a diet or cutting out certain foods if that will end in failure. The changes need to be a lifestyle change. The key is to work with a dietitian and other heart and diabetes experts to put together a personal plan that gives each individual the best chance of succeeding.

It’s also not shocking that exercise is another crucial component in the fight against both heart disease and diabetes. Again, what’s significant here is creating a routine that can be followed. Choosing an effective workout that keeps a person motivated is necessary to make sure a person incorporates it into daily life. There are as many ways to become, and stay, active as there are hobbies that people enjoy.

Taking prescribed medication, not smoking and support from family members can also make all of the difference for people with heart disease and diabetes.

To learn more, call 410-601-WELL (9355).

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