Understanding Diabetes and Heart Disease: If you’re one of 37.3 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, the good news is that you and your doctor can work together on a wellness plan. You’ve likely caught the condition early enough to make lifestyle changes that could save your life.
What you may not realize is that diabetes hurts heart health.
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, there’s a good chance a heart disease diagnosis will follow.
For many people, there is still time to improve overall health. Generally, good health reduces the risk of diabetes and other significant diseases.
Take a minute to explore how diabetes and heart disease can impact your life.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is not a new disease. Around 300 to 250 BC, Apollonius of Memphis first used the term to describe a health condition marked by frequent urination. In the 11th century AD, the medical community added mellitus—the Latin word for honey.
Today, when healthcare professionals talk about diabetes mellitus, they refer to a group of diseases that impact how the body manages blood sugar.
The food you eat determines your blood sugar. Blood sugar, a.k.a. glucose, fuels the energy your body needs to function efficiently.
One covert symptom of diabetes is higher than regular blood sugar. There are other more noticeable clues that you may have diabetes. We’ll share a few of the most common in the next paragraph.
Diabetes Side Effects
Before discussing the side effects of diabetes, let’s identify the four most common symptoms of diabetes. Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, unexplained fatigue, and weight loss.
If a doctor doesn’t diagnose and treat a person for diabetes, the body will eventually respond. The potential side effects—or complications—include the following:
- Eye problems
- Foot problems
- Kidney problems
- Nerve damage
- Gum disease
With a doctor’s help, most people can manage these complications so they don’t worsen. Another complication of diabetes is damaged blood vessels, which may lead to heart disease.
Diabetes and Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, diabetes is a major controllable risk factor for heart disease. Blood sugar stability is one of the doctors and their patients’ most significant challenges.
Mismanaging blood sugar levels leaves the body vulnerable to several health conditions leading to heart disease, including high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Uncontrolled blood sugar often results in poor eating and exercise habits. Many people with Type 2 diabetes also suffer from obesity. Being overweight usually means limited physical activity.
All of the above increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Whether it’s lifestyle changes or taking nutritional supplements, it’s possible to prevent heart disease.
How Can a Person Improve Heart Health?
What do healthcare professionals recommend people do to improve heart health?
Controlling blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol will help. Managing weight and finding ways to be physically active are also preventative measures. Many people find success by adding supplements to their health routines.
The health experts at Bama Health enjoy sharing ways clients can prevent diabetes and heart disease.