November Is National Diabetes Month, Things To Know

November is National Diabetes Month, a time when citizens should focus on what they can do to stay healthy. This year’s focus is on the link between diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

 

The statistics are grim. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes. This is because over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. The good news is that the steps you take to manage your diabetes will also help lower your chances of having heart disease or a stroke. Here is what you can do right now:

  • Stop smoking or using any tobacco products.
  • Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits – exercise and learn ways to manage stress.
  • Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor

 

 

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November: Diabetes Connection To Heart Disease

Having diabetes means that you are more likely to develop heart disease, heart attack, or a stroke. People with diabetes usually also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

 

Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes damages your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease.

 

In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes.

 

If you have diabetes, here are several things you can do to lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

 

November: Stop Smoking

Smoking raises your risk of developing heart disease. And, if you have diabetes, smoking will narrow your blood vessels. Consequently, you could develop lung disease, lower leg infections, ulcers, and even amputation.

 

November: High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder to pump blood.It also can strain your heart, damage blood vessels, and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems.

High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat produced by your liver and found in your blood. You have two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL.

LDL, often called “bad” cholesterol, can build up and clog your blood vessels. High levels of LDL cholesterol raises your risk of developing heart disease.

 

Obesity and Belly Fat

Few people really understand the danger of being overweight and how it  can affect your ability to manage your diabetes. Obesity left untreated increases your risk for heat disease and stroke.

 

The same thing goes for excess belly fat around your waist. Even if you’re not overweight, excess belly fat is dangerous as it raises your chances of developing heart disease.

 

How do you know if you have excess belly fat? Simple:

You have excess belly fat if your waist measures

  • more than 40 inches and you are a man
  • more than 35 inches and you are a woman

 

Family History of Heart Disease

A family history of heart disease may also add to your chances of developing heart disease. If one or more of your family members had a heart attack before age 50, the risk is even higher.

 

So if you have diabetes, it’s even more important to take steps to protect yourself from heart disease and decrease your chances of having a stroke.

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