People with diabetes are more at risk for multiple health complications, most especially cardiovascular diseases. The majority of those suffering from high blood glucose levels have been found to develop heart illnesses eventuallyWhile many people have heard of the connection between diabetes and heart diseases, only a few understand exactly what it means for them and how to manage them.  

If you’re one of the people who are battling diabetes or you know a loved one with the disease, this guide will show you everything you need to know about its link with cardiovascular diseases. Take note of these tips to help you understand the risk factors, plan preventive measures, and practice management actions to reduce your risk as yonavigate your way to a healthier heart. 

 

 

What is Diabetes? 

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts how your body turns food into energy. To put it simply, much of the food you eat is broken down into glucose or sugar, which is released into your bloodstream. When your blood glucose levels become high, it alerts your pancreas to release insulin, which lets your blood sugar into your cells so your body could use them as an energy source.  

If you have diabetes, your body either can’t use insulin properly or doesn’t make enough insulin. Over time, this condition can pose critical health problems, such as vision impairmentkidney disease, and ultimately, heart disease. 

 

Types of Diabetes 

 

Diabetes has three types: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes, which occurs among pregnant women. 

 

Type 1 Diabetes 

 

Type 1 diabetes refers to the condition where your body does not produce enough insulin. It is believed to be triggered by an autoimmune reaction, or when the body attacks itself, which causes your body to cease producing insulin. It is commonly diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, and symptoms often develop quickly.  

If you have this type of diabetes, you need to rely on insulin each day to survive. As of present, it is not yet clear as to how one could prevent and cure Type 1 diabetes. 

 

Type 2 Diabetes 

 

This condition prevents the body from using insulin effectively and makes your blood sugar levels unstable. It is usually diagnosed in adults as it develops over many years. Symptoms do not usually arise at an early stage of Type 1 diabetes, so it’s essential to monitor your blood sugar if you’re at risk.  

The good news is that it can be prevented by making healthier lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy meals, managing weight, and staying active. 

 

Gestational Diabetes 

 

This type of diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had a history of diabetes. It usually goes away after giving birth, but it may put the mother at risk for Type 2 diabetes over time.  

Furthermore, the baby may have obesity as a child and teen and is also likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life. 

 

What are the Symptoms 

 

Symptoms for Type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly, while Type 2 symptoms develop over time. Signs of diabetes could include: 

  • Frequent urination 
  • Unusual thirst 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Recurring infections 
  • Blurred vision 
  • Bruises, wounds, or cuts that are slow to heal 
  • Numbness in the hands or feet 
  • Having trouble getting an erection 

 

What is Heart Disease? 

Heart disease refers to all problems that affect your heart. On the other hand, the term “cardiovascular disease” means the same but includes all types of heart disease and stroke. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque in the coronary artery wall the blood vessels that bring oxygen and blood to the heart. The plaque is composed of cholesterol deposits, which decrease blood flow and make the inside of arteries narrow. 

 

What’s the Link Between Diabetes and Heart Disease? 

 

Having high blood glucose levels from diabetes may eventually damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. The longer you leave diabetes unmanaged, the higher the chances for you to develop heart disease.  

In adults who have diabetes, heart disease and stroke are the most usual causes of fatality. Patients with diabetes are almost twice as likely to succumb to heart disease as people without diabetes. 

 

What Increases Your Risk of Heart Disease? 

 

If you have diabetes, these are other factors that may cause you to develop heart disease or suffer from stroke later on. 

 

Obesity or Being Overweight 

 

Being overweight has an impact on your body’s ability to manage diabetes. In addition, excessive belly fat around your waist can increase your chances of having heart disease. 

 

Abnormal Cholesterol Levels 

 

There are there two types of cholesterol in your body: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or the “bad” cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or the “good” cholesterol. LDL can build up and clog your blood vessels, and high levels of it can put you at risk of heart disease. 

 

Smoking 

 

Smoking can damage your blood vessels, particularly in your legs, eventually increasing your risk of lower leg infections and possibly amputation. Smoking also narrows blood vessels, which puts you at risk of long-term problems related to the heart and the lungs. 

 

What are the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack? 

 

Warning signs of a heart attack may vary depending on the person. You may have or not have all of these symptoms. If you notice a couple or some of these warning signs, call 911 immediately: 

  • Nausea or indigestion  
  • Light-headedness or sweating  
  • Shortness of breath  
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both your back, neck, jaw, shoulders, or arms  
  • Recurring pain or pressure in your chest that lasts for a few minutes 

 

Managing Your Diabetes with Insulin 

To reduce your risk of heart disease, it’s vital to manage diabetes properly. The best action is still to discuss treatment options with your doctor, so you could decide which works for you. 

For the treatment of Type 1 diabetes, insulin therapy is necessary. Your doctor will provide you with the right dosage, timing, and the number of injections you might need.  

People with Type 2 diabetes may also need insulin therapy. The key is to monitor your blood sugar levels in the target range set by your healthcare provider. 

 

Living with Diabetes 

 

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, here are the ABCDESSS of living with diabetes: 

A: A1C. Monitor and manage your blood sugar levels. 

B: Blood pressure. Know your blood pressure and try to keep it in a healthy range. 

C: Cholesterol. Make sure your LDL cholesterol levels are lower or do not exceed the target. 

D: Drugs to decrease heart disease risk. This may include blood pressure pills, cholesterol-lowering pills, among many others. 

E: Exercise and proper eating. 

S: Self-management support. Set goals to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

S: Screening or monitoring for complications. Check-in with your doctor about the health of your heart, as well as your overall body. 

S: Stop smoking. 

 

Managing Your Heart Health with Lifestyle Changes 

One of the biggest contributors to poor heart health is the lack of commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Your lifestyle is your best defense against illnesses, so making these changes would dramatically reduce your risk factors for heart disease. 

 

Stick to a Heart-Healthy Diet 

 

Having a well-balanced and nutritious diet plays a significant role in keeping your heart functioning well. To maximize your cardiac diet, eat superfoods that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients, such as fish, berries, whole grains, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. Munch on healthier snacks, too, like dark chocolate and nuts.  

On the other hand, limit your intake ofried food, as well as fruits packed inheavy syrup, frozen fruits with sugar added, and generally any food with sugar content.  

Avoid white, refined flour and other unhealthy snacks like cakes, doughnuts, sugary biscuits, and high-fat crackers.  

Also, try to stay away from processed food like hot dogs and sausages, meatloaves, as well as organ meats, and fatty meats. 

 

Get Active 

 

Being active makes your body sensitive to insulin, which in turn, helps manage your diabetes. Physical activities help control blood sugar, even the simple ones like brisk walking. Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week to pump up your heart. 

Some moderate physical activities that you can try are water aerobics or swimming, biking, playing tennis, gardening, and dancing. 

 

Monitor Your Numbers 

 

The American Heart Association recommends people with diabetes or those at risk be aware of key health numbers: total cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, and body mass index. These numbers will allow your healthcare provider to identify your risk for developing heart diseases.  

For your blood sugar, try to stay in your target range recommended by your doctor. For your blood pressure, aim to keep it below 140/90 mm Hg or the target your doctor notes. 

The target LDL cholesterol for adults with diabetes is <100 mg/dl or 2.6 mmol/l, while the target HDL cholesterol levels are >40 mg/dl or 1.02 mmol/l. It’s also important to keep your triglyceride levels at <150 mg/dl (1.7 mmol/l. 

 

Bottomline 

 

Managing your diabetes has a domino effect on your overall heart health. The earlier you manage your symptoms, the more you lower your risk of developing heart diseases over time. Protect your health by knowing your key numbers, altering your lifestyle, and making it a habit to check in with your doctor for your overall health maintenance. 

Heart disease is a major cause of death both for men and women worldwide. In order to prevent cardiovascular-related illnesses, one must be ready to makhuge lifestyle changes, including completely altering eating habits and sticking to a daily cardio exercise, among many other ways.

However, taking such huge steps might feel overwhelming, especially if your old routine consists of poor health choices. But don’t fret it’s never too late to turn your life around, away from your past bad health habitsThis guide shows you simple and easy steps you can do every day as you navigate your way to a healthier heart.  

 

Take a 10 Minute Walk Daily 

Go for a stroll when running errands. Take your dog out for a walk. Put the ride-hailing app away and walk it out. With every step you take, you reduce your risk of heart diseases while trimming the extra calories from your body. Walking, even just for 10 minutes per day, can make a big difference in your heart health as it gets your blood pumping and your heart running, improving your overall energy levels. 

Listen to your favorite song while strolling— you won‘t realize you’ve walked for more than 10 minutes as you enjoy your tunesMoreover, listening to music can also be useful for the heart. Hit two birds with one stone, walk and jam to that beat! 

 

Eat on Time 

When you eat is just as important as what you eat. If you’re guilty of poor eating habits like skipping breakfast and binge eating at late hours, then it’s time to realign your mealtime

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), eating breakfast on time generates better blood pressure and cholesterol. It also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseaseFurthermore, it’s good to eat more during the day, instead of having fully loaded meals at night fobetter digestion. 

 

Pick Healthy Proteins 

Replacing high-fat meats with proteins like fish and poultry might help save you from heart diseases. Studies show that picking healthy proteins can lower blood pressure and cholesterol and help you maintain a healthy weight. Switching from high-fat meat to healthy proteins also reduces your risk of stroke.

That juicy pork belly may look tempting, but why not feast on a tasty salmon instead? It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, vitamins, and other nutrients, making it the smarter choice for your heart. Other protein-packed foods to keep in mind are tuna, chicken breasts, low-fat dairy, cheese, and nuts. 

 

Have Regular Teatime 

If you’re a tea lover, then you’re in for a treat! Drinking tea significantly lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease as it‘s full of antioxidants that lesselow-density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol in the body. 

Studies suggest that at least one cup of tea per day may boost good cholesterol as you age. Green tea has been found to have a more substantial effect than black tea, but you can enjoy both drinks as they have polyphenols and catechins, two compounds that have anti-inflammatorproperties. 

 

Laugh More Often 

Scientific research shows that laughing strengthens the immune system as it boosts your mood. Having a good laugh not only protects you from the effects of stress but also brings balance to your mind and body.

AHA notes that laughing lowers inflammation in your arteries and raises your levels of good cholesterol. Indeed, laughter is the best medicine. 

 

Practice Breathing Exercises 

The way you breathe affects your body. When you take deep breaths, you feel more relaxed, and your stress levels drop. This is because breathing properly sends a message to your brain, telling your body to calm down. When you are at a calm composure, your heart rate is at its normal numbers, your blood pressure decreases, and overall, you feel better. 

Practicing breathing exercises are beneficial for your whole body and heart health, not to mention they‘re easy to do whenever and wherever you are. All you need to do is sit in a comfortable position, take a deep breath in through your nose for eight seconds, hold your breath for around four seconds, and then release and breathe out through your mouth. 

Repeat for three to 10 times per day, and you’ll notice how you feel instantly refreshed right after. 

 

Eat Dark Chocolate 

Want a guilt-free way to enjoy your desserts? Switch to dark chocolates. Made from the cocoa tree’s seed, this treat is one of the best sources of antioxidants. In its pure glory, dark chocolate, without a lot of sugar and other flavorings, can help improve your heart health. It’s packed with iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc, and fiber, making it a delectable yet very nutritious snack. There’s always room for dessert when it’s dark chocolate! 

 

Get Enough Sleep 

Sleep is essential for a heart that functions well. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses. It is recommended for a healthier heart to get around six to eight hours of sleep at night. 

 

Try Fun Activities 

Protecting your heart isn’t just about hitting the gym. If you find the treadmill boring, there are many other fun ways to make your heart healthy. You can dance it away– make it more fun by recording yourself or learning those popular TikTok dance moves.

Or better yet, try swimming and get your whole body moving. Ride a bicycle. Go for a dance workout session with your friends. Try a new sport, like tennis. Time flies when you’re having fun, plus you’re pumping up your heart! 

 

Know Your Numbers 

Being aware of your critical health numbers is the most crucial part of monitoring your heart health, but it doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Take advantage of today’s technology, such as a digital blood pressure monitor, which can store your readings automatically so you can keep track of them easily.

AHA recommends monitoring these key health numbers: total cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index. Knowing your numbers allows you to understand your risk for developing heart diseases so you can also keep your heart in check. 

 

Bottomline 

 

Change is a vital part of preventing and managing heart disease. To have a healthier heart, you can start with a series of small changes that you can commit to undertaking every day. Once you keep it going, you would find that change isn’t so difficult, and eventually, you’ll be motivated to take bigger steps for a healthier heart.

Heart disease is the leading health concern in the world, so focusing on your heart is a priority and a must to live a better life. Among the ways to improve your heart health are exercising, getting enough sleep, monitoring and keeping your BMI on track, avoiding a poor lifestyle, and most importantly, fueling your body with nutritious food 

Following a healthy cardiac diet is recommended for people with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or any other history of heart disease. But even if you don’t have any heart health concernshaving a well-balanced, nutritious diet is still important because it lessens your risk of cardiac diseases in the future. 

Having proper nutrition plays a major role in keeping your heart running well, so make sure you are eating the right foods that provide benefits for your heart. Here are seven nutritious foods you should eat to maximize your cardiac diet. 

 

1. Leafy Green Vegetables 

Leafy green vegetables are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin K, which promotes better blood flow to avoid clotting. Green vegetables are high in dietary nitrates that reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Overall, greens improve cell function, lessening the risk of heart disease. 

 

What to Eat 

  • Kale  
  • Spinach  
  • Lettuce  
  • Bok Choy  
  • Salad greens  
  • Broccoli  
  • Collard greens  
  • Mustard greens  
  • Swiss chard 

 

2. Berries 

Berries are among the healthiest foods in the worldpacked with antioxidants like anthocyanins, these protect against inflammation that triggers heart disease. Berries are low in calories but high in vitamin C and fiber, which lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, and oxidative stress. Incorporating berries into your diet can reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. For instance, a study shows taking a beverage made of strawberries for eight weeks lessened bad cholesterol in the system of adults with metabolic syndrome. Another study also showed that blueberries improve cell function, which in turn, helps manage blood pressure. 

 

What to Eat: 

  • Strawberries  
  • Blueberries  
  • Raspberries 
  • Blackberries 
  • Tomato 

 

3. Fish Oil and Fatty Fish 

Fatty fish and fish oil are highly recommended superfoods that possess extensive benefits for the heart. Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, fish lowers blood triglycerides and improve arterial function. Fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA), essential acids and nutrients in managing heart diseases. These nutrients reduce the likelihood of stroke and heart attack, lessen the chance of abnormal heart rhythm and sudden cardiac death, and slow down the development of plaque in the arteries. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish should be taken at least twice a week for a healthy functioning heart. 

 

What to Eat: 

  • Tuna  
  • Lake Trout  
  • Sardines  
  • Herring  
  • Mackerel  
  • Salmon 

 

4. Dark Chocolate 

Quality dark chocolate or cocoanot loaded with saturated fat and sugaris one of the best sources of antioxidants on Earth. This scrumptious dessert is not only delightful to eat, but also helps your immune system with its disease-fighting antioxidants. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate on a regular basis can be beneficial for your health. However, moderation is the key since dark chocolates are still high in calories and may result in weight gain. Small amounts of dark chocolate, on the other hand, can fit well into a balanced cardiac diet. Dark chocolates are rich in flavanols, a type of plant compound with powerful antioxidants that help reduce the risk of heart disease. 

 

How Dark Chocolate Helps: 

  • This treat controls chronic inflammation that can lead to heart disease 
  • It lowers insulin resistance, reducing the risk of diabetes 
  • It processes nitric oxide, improving blood flow, including the brain 
  • This nutritious food makes platelets less sticky, which can trigger stroke or heart attack 

 

5. Nuts 

Eating heart-healthy nuts is an easy and inexpensive way to lower your risk of cardiac disease. Research has found that people who incorporate nuts in their daily diet have lowered their risk of heart ailments. Aside from being packed with protein, heart-healthy nuts have fiber and omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce cholesterol and prevent diabetes. The AHA recommends eating about four servings of nuts per week, particularly raw or dry-roasted nuts rather than salted nuts cooked in oil. 

 

What to Eat: 

  • Almonds  
  • Macadamia  
  • Hazelnuts  
  • Pecans  
  • Peanuts 
  • Brazil Nuts 
  • Pistachios 
  • Cashews 

 

6. Avocados 

Avocados are naturally cholesterol-free and have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, making them an excellent superfood that is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. This creamy treat is also rich in potassium, which is a nutrient vital to heart health. Just one avocado provides 975 milligrams of potassium or around 28 percent of the amount an individual needs in a day. Taking at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day can reduce blood pressure and stroke. 

 

7. Whole Grain 

Whole grains are naturally packed with fiber, which helps in maintaining healthy body weight. Compared to refined, whole grains have higher fiber content, which helps lessen bad cholesterol. Many studies show that incorporating whole grains into your diet can be beneficial for your heart health. At least three servings of whole grains per day can decrease systolic blood pressure, which in turn, reduces the risk of stroke. 

 

What to Eat: 

  • Barley  
  • Buckwheat  
  • Brown rice  
  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)  
  • Oatmeal 
  • Millet 
  • Popcorn 
  • Whole wheat pasta 
  • Whole wheat crackers 
  • Whole wheat bread 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Once you know which food to eat more for a healthier heart, you will be reaping the benefits such as becoming more alert, feeling lighter, and actually being healthy from within. Start your way toward a healthier path with these nutritious foods and make a personal promise to maintain a good cardiac diet— your future self will surely thank you. Eat right and treat your heart right!  

High blood pressure, or also known as hypertension, usually develops over time. It’s not a condition that happens suddenly. When you have hypertension, your arteries will work harder to distribute blood to your body. Over time, the increase in pressure will lead to several health problems such as heart disease or stroke.  

High blood pressure early signs and symptoms are usually unnoticeable, which can be quite deadly as severe symptoms such as stroke or heart attack only happen when your blood pressure levels rise to an extreme amount.   

That is why early detection is crucial, and preventing it from developing is the best way to combat this silent killer. So, how do we manage our health to avert hypertensionCheck out these steps you can take on how to prevent high blood pressure. 

 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a dangerous medical condition that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. It is a silent killer because you often won’t notice underlying symptoms that come with this condition. Early detection and prevention are the best ways to avoid complications.   

A healthy lifestyle contributes a lot to managing high blood pressure levels. Reducing blood pressure levels can be done without the need for medication by just changing your lifestyle. If you have existing hypertension, here are five ways to lower your blood pressure levels naturally.  

  

As we approach the year 2021, we look into new changes in our lives. It is a great time to commit to a more active lifestyle, but chances are, it’ll only last for a month or two before the laziness and lack of willpower kicks in. Despite that, you can still motivate and reward yourself and achieve your fitness goals.   

  

Whether it’s weight loss, a healthier body, a personal goal, or whatever you have in mind, planning fitness goals for the new year is straightforward — but successfully achieving those goals can prove to be challenging. So, if you’re serious about your goals, follow these tips on how to achieve your fitness goals for the new year.  

  

The year 2020 has been tough for everyone. We experienced a pandemic, riots, and calamities all year round. For months, people stayed at home, left to do what they want, and develop new habits. There may be undesirable habits we’ve picked up, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change them.  

It’s the time of year again to list down the things we want to change in our lives. Many people make unrealistic goals for the new year and then find themselves quitting or pushing it back further. That is why it’s crucial to make realistic plans to help you achieve them easier 

We are never in a perfect state, so there’s always room for improvement. Recognizing these flaws will bring personal improvement for a better you. Here are five habits you can start this new year to live a healthier life.  

  

Christmas and New Year are approaching fast, and it’s time to shop for gifts. Buying a gift for someone with diabetes may pose a challenge since you have to be more thoughtful than usual. It’s best to find a useful item or service that will let them feel appreciated and understood regarding their health condition.  

There are specific gifts people with this condition might appreciate more than others. That is why we’ve listed down holiday gift ideas for people with diabetes, so you can plan and prepare the best gift for them. You may choose one or incorporate a few into one unique package to make them feel more special during these coming holidays.  

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrating traditions and holidays took a sharp turn. Bans and restrictions limit the way we enjoy these events. This December, as Christmas and New Year approaches, we look into our homes to observe these yearly celebrations.   

We see a change in social interactions, especially in public places, which means we have to adjust to enjoy the holidays’ spirit. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we’ve gone through several holidays such as Thanksgiving and Halloween. So, how different is celebrating the holidays during COVID-19 

Christmas Eve is the time of the year when we let ourselves indulge in delicious food. Festive cheers and meals will soon fill your house as you celebrate your Christmas dinner. Keep the holiday healthy with a table full of tasty but healthy Christmas meals with these alternatives that won’t break the scales or compromise your health condition.