How are diabetes and heart disease related?
Diabetes as I mentioned is a very sneaky disease because it will slowly but surely affect the whole body but, diabetes has target organs. I can list some but definitely number one is heart. Second are our eyes. Some people can go blind if they don’t do anything about diabetes. Kidneys are number three. And definitely brain. I would say another not organ but very important part is our nerve endings. Diabetes kills our nerve endings and many people are having neuropathy when they have persistent burning and tingling sensation in the feet and arms and it’s a very bothersome feeling. People definitely don’t like it and sometimes it might be the first symptom to come see the doctor and we diagnose them with diabetes. It’s very important to know because, as I said, if diabetes affects the heart it definitely leads to any problems related to heart attack and even stroke because diabetes plays a very big role in that. I would say that we definitely need to keep our attention to the diabetes and how we can prevent and what are you going to do when you already have the diagnosis? Number one you have to keep your blood sugar as much under control as possible. This is number one. We have a specific test. Anyone who has diabetes or pre-diabetes has to know hemoglobin A1C . This number you have to know. Whenever you go to the eye doctor, ophthalmologist, they are going to ask what is your hemoglobin A1C? This is a specific marker for long-term blood sugar. It shows you how long you have elevated blood sugar and what is the level. For a safe level it should be below 7. It’s a very important number I’d like you to remember. Basically a normal number should be below 5.6 but for people with diabetes the magic number is 7. It is very important to keep your blood sugar not dropping too low as well because it might be even more dangerous. Your body just cannot keep your sugar in balance so you have to be very careful about that so you have to eat frequent but small meals. I wouldn’t encourage you to eat full meals every two hours because this will bring your body weight up and it’s actually promoting the diabetes. So remember, structured small but frequent meals is a key point. Avoid any carbohydrate products as I already mentioned, all starch products like potatoes, corn, rice, pasta, any bread should be eliminated. Simple sugars definitely should be eliminated as well. I didn’t mention yet soda. This is number one enemy for diabetes and for us. Please eliminate it or cut down as much as possible. Even if you drink diet soda, it’s not going to be healthy.
Diabetes which I’ve already mentioned is an increase in sugar level in our blood and it definitely goes into any tissue including arteries. And it makes arteries to be very fragile and not flexible. Usually our arteries should be flexible to get more dilated if our body needs it. Blood sugar doesn’t give that opportunity to our arteries. Whenever we do something and our heart needs more blood to that, like any exercising, the whole body including the heart needs more blood so arteries cannot dilate so they cannot bring more blood to the heart and the heart is asking for the oxygen or more blood and cannot get it. So it is definitely creating another problem if heart is trying to compensate for that and we go into a vicious cycle. Limited blood supply is another answer why we have heart problems related to diabetes. Another thing I already mentioned that diabetes kills nerve endings and sometimes people may not even feel they are experiencing serious problems with the heart. We sometimes call it silent heart attack. So people without diabetes may have pain as a first alarming signal and they can rush to the emergency room but people with diabetes may not have pain and it’s defeating people and they can delay their visit to the emergency room and it might be too late. So please be aware of that. It is very important and how important to keep your blood sugar under control and not to get your arteries completely damaged still to be able to bring some blood to your organs, specifically heart.
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