Cardiovascular disease is by far the leading cause of death among diabetics. According to the American Heart Association, at least 68 percent of people 65 or older with diabetes die from heart disease, and at least 16 percent die of stroke. In fact, diabetic adults are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as adults without diabetes.
Needless to say, diabetics must be especially in tune with their cardiovascular health to keep the risk of cardiovascular disease in check. While maintaining blood sugar levels is essential, diabetes is often combined with other cardiovascular risk factors that increase the chances of heart disease. These risk factors include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
In order to keep your heart healthier this month and in the future, here are three ways you can better care for your heart.
1. Consistently Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is among the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease, so the more aware you are of your current levels, the more effective you can be at maintaining your heart health. Note that it’s quite common for those with diabetes to have high blood pressure, so it’s important to get regular checks with your doctor or a medical professional who can help you evaluate your levels.
If you can, you should aim for a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or lower and ideally lower than 130/80. Depending on your situation, your doctor might recommend ACE inhibitor medications to help regulate your blood pressure and bring it down to normal levels.
2. Stay Active as Much as Possible
Of all potential lifestyle habits to adopt or maintain, exercise should be one of your highest priorities. Regular exercise isn’t only one of the best ways for you to maintain optimal blood pressure, but it can simultaneously assist with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Additionally, consistent exercise can help regulate cholesterol levels, another risk factor for cardiovascular disease when left unchecked.
If possible, try to achieve 150-200 minutes of moderate exercise a week at a minimum. If you plan to undertake a particularly rigorous exercise routine, it might be worth consulting your doctor for your safety. Above all, try to find an exercise or an activity that you enjoy and integrate it as much as possible into your day-to-day life.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Exercise and diet are two of the most helpful lifestyle adjustments when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, but be sure to keep an eye on your weight.
If you’re overweight, you’ll need to set small, but achievable goals towards reducing your weight to healthy levels. Your overall body composition, particularly your fat-to-muscle ratio, is one of the strongest indicators of overall health. Unhealthy body composition for your sex and age can put you at greater risk than necessary for chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease.
Schedule a Scan
Advanced Body Scan of Tulsa offers a variety of scans for the heart, lungs, and colon, among others. All scans are minimally invasive and take only a few minutes to complete, but can be crucial to detecting early signs of disease and working towards healthy outcomes. To schedule or ask about a scan, visit our website or call us at 918.879.6161.