Diabetes and heart disease is a deadly combination. Incidents of chronic heart failures causing sudden death in patients with diabetes are fairly common across the world. Earlier, the middle-aged population was more prone to such lifestyle disorders, but the line has gotten blurred somewhere today with an increasing number of younger people in their 20s and 30s succumbing to such life-threatening diseases.
The Connection Between Heart And Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that arises due to insufficient secretion of insulin, a hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels in the blood. The presence of other hormones in the body like melatonin, estrogen, leptin, growth hormone, etc regulates insulin secretion. An active, healthy lifestyle also ensures insulin production in the pancreas. However, if this process gets obstructed for any reason, sugar levels increase alarmingly in the bloodstream – predisposing one to diabetes mellitus.
When sugar levels increase, the blood flow is restricted with reduced oxygen supply. Blood capillary walls, or arteries, harden and become narrow due to plaque formation, a condition called ‘atherosclerosis’. The narrowing of blood vessels often constricts the blood passage and results in blood clots, strokes, and heart failures, increasing incidents of mortality, and the axing of active life by several years.
Poorly managed diabetes mellitus gives rise to several allied health complications, majorly being coronary heart diseases.
If one is a patient of the twin and often has fatal conditions of high blood sugar and high blood pressure, especially when both are unchecked, he is several times more susceptible to heart attacks than those who are on planned medical treatment.
Causes Of Diabetes And Congestive Heart Failures:
Modern lifestyle is often associated with
- Reduced mobility
- High stress levels leading to sleep deprivation and nicotine and alcohol addictions
- Obesity resulting from sedentary habits
- Unhealthy dietary patterns like taking a sodium-rich diet and regular consumption of foods like aerated drinks, chips, fast food, red meat, packaged and processed food.
Experts warn that foods that are replete with saturated and trans-fat, high triglycerides, high on bad cholesterol or LDL, and low on good cholesterol or HDL, alongside substance addictions and inactivity, grossly risk heart and blood health.
Addressing Health Disparities:
Despite being diagnosed with diabetes and associated heart problems, one still stands a fair chance of managing his medical conditions with healthy alterations in lifestyle and food habits. Early diagnosis and the right treatment plan also go a long way in relieving discomforting symptoms and in preventing any further damage. Let us see how one can actively collaborate with the doctor in charge to bring about permanent lifestyle changes in managing both diabetes and diabetes-induced heart diseases:
- Take measures to correct your diet – A diet rich in fibre, like those found in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains; lean protein; high water intake; nuts, etc, is ideal. The doctor recommends portions on an individual case basis.
- Follow an ideal weight policy – It is absolutely imperative to lose weight and sustain the ideal one when one is diagnosed with both diabetes and heart disorders. Depending on the severity of the problem, the doctor may recommend light to moderate exercises, mostly walking, swimming, yoga, and light aerobics. Being physically active also helps in insulin secretion that regulates blood sugar and lowers risk of heart disease.
- Quit smoking and alcohol– Blood sugar levels are erratic in chain smokers and regular drinkers. Overtime, these high sugar levels in blood cause diabetes. Prolonged diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the heart, making them more likely to develop fatty deposits and developing coronary problems. It is best advised to ditch both smoking and drinking as the first step to recovery.
- Eliminate or reduce stressors – Diabetes and heart problems are often caused due to stress that remains unaddressed for long. Proactive measures like seeking individual counselling/therapy, learning problem resolution, taking meditative exercises, practising mindfulness, having an active social life, and pursuing holistic self-sustaining hobbies, can all contribute wonderfully to one’s overall well-being.
- Monitor progress – Keep a track of your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride levels. Follow up with your doctor regularly and religiously stick to the regime he recommends for you.
- Do not skip medication – Insulin injections or heart health medicines, do not miss your daily dose. Your doctor is the best one to prescribe those that would help to reach target levels of complete well-being.
Diabetes and coronary problems become life-threatening only when they remain untreated or uncontrolled for long. With a little bit of caution and the right medical guidance, one can manage or even reverse a debilitating medical condition.