How to Manage Diabetes & Heart Disease Through Lifestyle Changes
Diabetes and heart diseases are linked. They are common conditions that are prevalent all across the globe and are the leading illnesses even in India. Since the underlying factors of both these conditions are pretty similar, they have a strong link. People living with type 2 diabetes are also known to have higher cholesterol levels and higher blood pressure and therefore are more prone to heart conditions such as stroke, heart diseases, etc.
Certain studies have shown the link between type 2 diabetes and heart conditions:
- People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience heart-related issues and a stroke as compared to people without diabetes. Additionally, they experience these issues at a much younger age
- Adults with diabetes are twice or four times more likely to have heart conditions that of fatal in nature
- In people 65 or older with diabetes approximately 68% pass away due to some sort of heart disease and 16% die from stroke
- According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, heart disease and stroke are one are some of the most common causes of death among adults who are living with diabetes
Therefore, it is super important to manage your condition with lifestyle modifications for type 2 diabetes so that it does not affect other organs of the body, especially the heart. Keeping your blood sugar range to the optimal level will help you achieve this goal. Ensure that you are making certain lifestyle changes to be able to live a healthy life and keep a healthy heart even with diabetes.
Lifestyle Changes to Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease in Diabetics
It is well known that lifestyle changes definitely benefit people with prediabetes and T2D. The American Heart Association (AHA), published 'Life's Simple 7' which are the seven risk factors that people can improve through lifestyle changes to help achieve ideal cardiovascular health. They are-
- Smoking Status
- Physical Activity
- Blood Glucose
- Blood Pressure
The great news, folks, is that research shows that people who maintain at least 5 of these factors at the ideal level can reduce the risk of diabetes by 70% and of heart attack, stroke, and heart failure leading to cardiovascular death by a gratifying 80%! Additionally, following these healthy lifestyle choices results in creating positive changes in prediabetes and T2D individuals as well.
Testing for Heart Disease
If you are dealing with any symptoms, even minor ones that could indicate issues of the heart, it would be best to get those tested and checked at the earliest. This can help control any issue from the beginning and will prevent it from becoming something huge. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Some tests that you can keep in mind would be:
- ECG – an electrocardiogram is used to measure the electrical activity of the heart. It will measure your heartbeat as an electrical impulse.
- ECHO – an echocardiogram can test the thickness of your heart muscles and the quality of the pumping of the heart
- Exercise stress test – this is done on a treadmill to see how well the heart functions when it is working hard.
7 Lifestyle And Metabolic Health Goals
Since the question is type 2 diabetes a lifestyle disease is true, the importance to make these lifestyle changes will go a long way to remain healthy.
- Smoking status – Smoking can worsen the body and immunity in multiple ways. It can complicate and aggravate the symptoms of diabetes and can clog up the arteries. The plaque build-up in the body damaged blood vessels, and lung-related issues can be stressful and can hurt the heart
- Physical activity – The greater the physical activity, the more the person remains healthy. Exercise has been effective in controlling and mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with and without diabetes. Additionally, more exercise and movement are also related to the optimal use of the body’s sugar levels and can keep the heart healthy. Aerobic exercises, cardio routines, strength training, etc are known to be very helpful.
- Weight – Maintaining a healthy weight is also vital to the efficient lifestyle management of diabetes. High weight and body fat can cause a rise in the blood sugars in the body. This can also increase the risk of heart disease. Losing weight can bring down blood sugar and can also decrease overall cholesterol.
- Diet – Reduce the overall fat and carbohydrate intake as those elements are crucial in managing the symptoms of diabetes and also heart conditions. Limited the total amount of saturated fat you consume and do not engage in eating processed foods. Choose healthy oils so that you can reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
- Blood glucose - Reduce your blood sugar levels by consuming more fiber-rich foods and eliminating sugar from your diet. Only consume naturally occurring glucose which is found in fruits and vegetables. Monitor your BS levels from time to time by getting regular checkups done. Post-meal and pre-meal sugar tests can be done for regular monitoring of sugar.
- Cholesterol - Consume a diet that is rich in fiber and has a low glycemic index. The glycemic index is a value used to measure how much a food item raises blood sugar. Items that have a low glycemic index are good for people with impending health issues.
- Blood pressure - Keep blood pressure issues at bay by managing your stress levels and mental health. Meditate and try to remain calm in situations where you feel agitated, work out regularly and keep visiting your doctor to monitor your blood pressure levels. Get enough sleep so your body relaxes and returns to its natural calm state.
Whew, this is a rather intense list of activities to follow and keep track of! But as they say No pain, No gain! So imagine the dividends these efforts will yield. The biggest silver lining is that many research studies have independently endorsed these choices and goals. If followed diligently and maintained, these lifestyle choices are bound to reward you with excellent health and happy life!
What exercise is best for type 2 diabetes?
If you are someone that has type 2 diabetes, following a regular workout schedule will greatly benefit you in maintaining good health. Walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics, resistance training and calisthenics are some of the forms of exercise that are good for people with type 2 diabetes.
What exercise is best for type 2 diabetes?
Exercise and lifestyle for diabetics are highly recommended by most doctors. Any kind of exercise that will help burn body fat is suggested. Aerobics, strength training, cardio, etc for 15-30 minutes in a day would work, to begin with. You can slowly increase the timing and the amount of exercise.
How can you control diabetes in its early stages?
Regularly checking blood sugars, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising every day, not having too many highs or lows, setting a good routine, etc are a few ways using which you can control your diabetes in the early stages.
What is the best diet for diabetes prevention?
Since there is no universal way to understand what lifestyle causes diabetes, following a common diet with, fewer carbs, less sugar, no maida or starch, high fiber, high protein, etc would be helpful to prevent the onset of diabetes. Avoiding fatty foods would also be beneficial