Can Diabetes Affect Your Heart? Here’s How to Keep It Healthy
Author – Dr S. Sridhar MBBS, MD, DM (Endo), Consultant Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, Preethi Endocrine and Diabetic Clinic, Annanagar, Madurai
Recent research highlights the connection between diabetes and heart issues, even without typical risk factors.
Taking Charge: How Lifestyle Changes Can Protect Your Heart
In the last couple of decades, we’ve learned that having diabetes can make your heart more vulnerable. There’s a higher chance that people with diabetes might have something called “heart failure.” This doesn’t mean your heart stops suddenly; it means it has trouble pumping blood the way it should.
Why It’s Important
So, why does this matter? It’s not just about having more heart problems with diabetes; it’s also about the fact that when people with diabetes do have heart problems, it can be tougher for them to get better.
How Diabetes Affects Your Heart
Think of your heart as a pump. It needs to squeeze (we call it systolic function) and then relax (we call it diastolic function) to do its job right.
Diabetes can mess up both of these functions, kind of like throwing a wrench into the gears of a machine. Your heart doesn’t squeeze and relax properly, and that’s not good for your heart’s health.
It’s Not Always About the Usual Heart Problems
Here’s the thing: diabetes can affect your heart even if you don’t have the typical heart problems like blocked arteries or high blood pressure. It’s like diabetes can create heart issues all by itself.
The Good News: A Healthy Lifestyle
Now, here’s the positive side. You can do something about it! It all starts with a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and good habits can make a big difference.
One of the best things you can do for your heart if you have diabetes is to get moving. Exercise helps your heart pump better and can even make your body use insulin more effectively, which is a good thing for people with diabetes.
You don’t need to become a fitness guru overnight. Just start with simple things like walking, swimming, or riding a bike. Aim for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
Your diet plays a big role too. Strive for a well-rounded diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein. Avoid too much sugar and unhealthy fats. Your heart and your blood sugar levels will thank you for it.
Stress can also have an impact on your heart health and blood sugar levels. Discover methods to unwind and handle stress, such as practicing deep breathing, engaging in meditation, or dedicating time to activities that bring you joy.
Stay on Top of Medications
If your healthcare provider has given you prescribed medications to manage your diabetes, make sure to follow their instructions meticulously. These medications are designed to regulate your blood sugar levels and alleviate stress on your heart.
In a Nutshell
So, to sum it up, diabetes can affect your heart, but you can do something about it. Exercise regularly, eat well, manage stress, and take your medications as directed. These steps can make a big difference in keeping your heart healthy, even if you have diabetes.
If you have diabetes, it’s essential to work closely with your doctor to create a plan that’s right for you. By taking good care of yourself, you can help ensure that diabetes doesn’t have to mean heart problems.