Of all of the many potential complications associated with diabetes, none takes more lives than cardiovascular disease (CVD). Problems with the heart and blood vessels, including atherosclerosis, heart failure, and arrhythmias, are the leading cause of death in people with diabetes and are responsible for 2/3 of all deaths among those with type 2 diabetes. Making matters worse, individuals living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease or experience a stroke than people who do not have the condition.
That is why heart health is so critical if you have diabetes. The good news is that you can significantly reduce your risk for CVD with vigilant diabetes management, diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
Diabetes Isn’t The Only Risk Factor For Cardiovascular Disease
By itself, diabetes presents serious risks of CVD. But many people with diabetes also have other issues or engage in behaviors that further make a cardiovascular event more likely. Those risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) and triglycerides
- Low HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”)
- Lack of physical activity
Symptoms of Serious Heart Problems
Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention If you experience any of the following symptoms to prevent further damage to your heart, blood vessels, and brain:
Signs of a Heart Attack:
- Chest pain or discomfort, pressure, and tightness
- A fullness that may feel like heartburn or indigestion
- Discomfort in one or both of your arms, jaw, neck, back, jaw, or upper abdomen
- Shortness of breath
- Indigestion, nausea, or vomiting
- Tiredness, fainting, or light-headedness
Signs of Heart Failure:
- Shortness of breath
- Quick or irregular heartbeat
- Coughing with pink-tinged mucus
- Swelling of the feet and ankles
How To Protect Your Heart And Reduce Your CVD Risk
The best way to keep your heart healthy is to effectively manage your diabetes. Try to keep your blood sugar level in range for as long and as frequently as you can. A healthy diet, regular exercise, taking your insulin and medication as directed, managing stress and getting enough sleep, and regular doctor visits will all help as well.
At those doctor visits, discuss your cardiovascular risk with your physician and make sure the following are addressed:
- Check your blood pressure
- Discuss your blood glucose meter readings. Take along your meter/logbook
- Check your weight
- Discuss your diet
- Share any lifestyle, work, or emotional changes
- Discuss your physical activity or lack thereof
- If you smoke, ask for guidance on how to quit
- Have your feet checked
- Talk about all the medications you take
Keep Your Blood Sugar In Check With CGM
As noted, keeping blood glucose levels as close to your target level as possible is a critical element of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. One way to ensure that you keep your blood levels in check is through Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). It is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
Speak with your doctor and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.