Put heart health first for a longer life
NewsCanada — Everyone should take steps at all life stages to protect against heart attack and stroke. This is especially important for people who have diabetes. In fact, approximately one in two people with Type 2 diabetes die from heart disease, making it the most common cause of death.
People living with diabetes are up to three times more likely to be hospitalized for heart health problems, and may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than those without the condition.
Award-winning singer and songwriter Jann Arden understands the impact diabetes can have on a loved one.
“My dad had diabetes, and many other health problems, including heart disease. I was surprised to learn the two conditions were so strongly linked. It’s important to know your risk and take action to protect your heart health when you have diabetes.” Symptoms associated with heart problems can be silent. Risk factors — including uncontrolled or high blood pressure, poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking — can put a person at increased risk of developing heart disease.
Fortunately, understanding the connection between diabetes and heart disease can better position you to take preventative steps to help reduce your risk. Listening to your body is important too. For example, signs like leg cramps when walking or chest pain are worth mentioning to your doctor.
Heart disease is a general term for a group of conditions that can affect the structure and functions of the heart and blood vessels. The most common form found among people with diabetes is coronary artery disease, or hardening of the arteries. This happens when fatty deposits block the arteries that supply the heart with blood.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage diabetes that may reduce the risk of death from heart disease. According to Diabetes Canada, you can do this by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, managing weight, avoiding smoking, and taking medications to protect your heart.
Recently, advances have been made in the treatment of diabetes to specifically reduce the risk of heart disease. To find out more about your risk and ways to manage it, talk to your doctor and check out www.myheartmatters.ca.
Tips to Reduce your Risk
Diabetes Canada recommends the “ABCDEs” to help reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke:
A1C: Control blood glucose levels and keep your A1C around 7 per cent or less. A1C is a blood test that is an index of the average blood glucose level over the last 120 days.
Blood pressure: Keep blood pressure to less than 130/80 mmHg.
Cholesterol: The LDL (bad) cholesterol target is 2.0 mmol/L or less.
Drugs to protect your heart: Speak with your doctor about medication options to help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Exercise: Along with a healthy diet, regular physical activity can help you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Smoking and stress: Avoid smoking and manage stress effectively with, for example, exercise, meditation, yoga or whatever works for you.