Keeping Blood Sugar Levels under Control can Prevent Damage
Diabetes places a lot of pressure on the cardiovascular system. Sixty-eight percent of people over the age of 65 with diabetes die from some form of heart disease. That’s because over a period of time, high blood sugar levels damage artery linings and blood vessels.
The best way patients with diabetes can reduce their risk of heart disease is to keep their blood sugar under control. Unfortunately, some people are unaware they have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, which is why it is so important to know your blood sugar numbers. Adults should have their blood sugar levels checked annually if they are considered pre-diabetic. Otherwise, levels should be checked every three years. Patients with diabetes should follow the testing protocol recommended by their doctor.
While diabetes is hard on the heart, developing cardiovascular disease is not inevitable. In addition to keeping blood sugar levels under control by taking any prescribed medications, including insulin, here are some other ways diabetics can reduce their risk of heart disease:
Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major cardiac disease risk factor and research shows a link between insulin resistance and hypertension.
Keep cholesterol in normal range. Patients with diabetes are also at risk for having unhealthy cholesterol numbers. Have your cholesterol tested and work with your physician to keep your levels in a healthy range through diet and medication, if necessary.
Lose weight. Eating a heart-healthy diet filled with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Dropping some pounds if you are overweight can naturally reduce your blood sugar levels.
Get exercise. A regular exercise routine can help naturally lower your blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Take your medication. In addition to regularly checking your blood sugar and taking your medication for diabetes, be sure to take any other medications prescribed by your physician to control your blood pressure or cholesterol.
Quit smoking. Smoking raises everyone’s risk of heart disease. When you kick the habit, you lower your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
It is important for diabetic patients to check their blood sugar levels at home. There are usually fluctuations, which is why I look at a patient’s hemoglobin IAC level and what their blood sugar average has been over the last three months. That data provides me with a clearer picture of whether or not their blood sugar levels are truly under control.