Diabetes may double the risk of developing health problems like heart disease or a stroke. If that wasn’t scary enough, people with diabetes usually end up having strokes or developing heart disease much earlier in life compared to people without diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you are at least twice as likely as someone who does not have diabetes to have heart disease or a stroke. People with diabetes also tend to develop heart disease or have strokes at an earlier age than other people.
If you are middle-aged and have type 2 diabetes, some studies suggest that your chance of having a heart attack is as high as someone without diabetes who has already had one heart attack.
Women who have not gone through menopause usually have less risk of heart disease than men of the same age. But women of all ages with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease because diabetes cancels out the protective effects of being a woman in her child-bearing years.
People with diabetes who have already had one heart attack run an even greater risk of having a second one.
In addition, heart attacks in people with diabetes are more serious and more likely to result in death.
High blood glucose levels over time can lead to increased deposits of fatty materials on the insides of the blood vessel walls. These deposits may affect blood flow, increasing the chance of clogging and hardening of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
Risk factors for heart disease and stroke in people with diabetes
Diabetes itself is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Another risk factor for heart disease and stroke is having a family history of heart disease. If one or more members of your family had a heart attack at an early age (before age 55 for men or 65 for women), you may be at increased risk.
You can’t change whether heart disease runs in your family, but you can take steps to control the other risk factors for heart disease listed here:
- Having central obesity.Central obesity means carrying extra weight around the waist, as opposed to the hips. A waist measurement of more than 100cm for men and more than 88cm for women means you have central obesity. Your risk of heart disease is higher because abdominal fat can increase the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol, the type of blood fat that can be deposited on the inside of blood vessel walls.
- Having abnormal blood fat (cholesterol) levels.
– LDL cholesterol can build up inside your blood vessels, leading to narrowing and hardening of your arteries-the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Arteries can then become blocked. Therefore, high levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk of getting heart disease.
– Triglycerides are another type of blood fat that can raise your risk of heart disease when the levels are high.
– HDL (good) cholesterol removes deposits from inside your blood vessels and takes them to the liver for removal. Low levels of HDL cholesterol increase your risk for heart disease.
- Having high blood pressure.If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, your heart must work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems.
- Smoking doubles your risk of getting heart disease. Stopping smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Smoking also increases the risk of other long-term complications, such as eye problems. In addition, smoking can damage the blood vessels in your legs and increase the risk of amputation.
What can I do to prevent or delay heart disease and stroke?
Even if you are at high risk for heart disease and stroke, you can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. You can do so by taking the following steps:
- Make sure that your diet is “heart-healthy.”
- Include at least 14 grams of fiber daily for every 1,000 calories consumed. Foods high in fiber may help lower blood cholesterol. Oat bran, oatmeal, whole-grain breads and cereals, dried beans and peas (such as kidney beans, pinto beans, and black-eyed peas), and vegetables are all good sources of fiber. Increase the amount of fiber in your diet gradually to avoid digestive problems.
- Cut down on sugars, starches and all forms of carbohydrates; because carbohydrate cause a rise in blood sugar levels which can lead to inflammation in the arteries, causing cholesterol levels to rise. Believe or not, but sugar in foods causes triglycerides to rise which lead to an accumulation of LDL on the inside walls of the arteries.
- Carbohydrates are highest in bread, maize, cookies, crackers, chips, potatoes, and most other starchy vegetables. You also need to cut all forms of sugar and sugary drinks.
- To make it easy for you, follow the Manna Diet in the free e-book.
- Make physical activity part of your routine.Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Think of ways to increase physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you haven’t been physically active recently, see your doctor for a checkup before you start an exercise program.
Make use of the “Walking off Weight” program in the Manna Diet e-book.
- If you smoke, quit.Your doctor can help you find ways to quit smoking.
Try to keep your insulin levels and blood sugar levels as normal as possible, with your medication or a product like the Manna Blood Sugar Support, which helps to reduce the uptake of glucose from the food to the blood stream. This Manna product also helps the body to require less insulin.