If you or a loved one has diabetes, you’ve likely heard how important it is to actively manage blood sugar levels. But it’s also crucial to understand the harm to the other parts of the body that diabetes causes.
Monitoring blood sugar is essential. When it is out of control, it becomes insidious, wreaking havoc upon the body.
How Does Diabetes Harm The Cardiovascular System?
Diabetes assaults the cardiovascular system, resulting in damage that can lead to detrimental health issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
• Blood vessel damage. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels damage the vessel walls and cause them to be less pliable. The damage increases the risk of platelet buildup, which can cause blood clots and blockages. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, having diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by up to 4 times. For people with diabetes, it is the leading cause of death.
• Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Elevated glucose in the blood damages the lining of the arteries, leading to plaque buildup. As plaque accumulates, it narrows the opening of the arteries, which limits blood flow to your organs and throughout your body.
• Increased stroke risk. The American Stroke Association reports a staggering statistic that people with diabetes are admitted to a hospital for a stroke in the US every 2 minutes. Blood clots and blockages cause decreased blood flow to the brain, which can result in a stroke.
• Increased risk of amputation. A combination of poor circulation and blood vessel damage can cause nerve and skin breakdown of the feet. As a result, injuries may go unnoticed due to numbness, the skin may not heal properly, and infections could develop. Amputation is a possibility, as the operation is done to help prevent existing infections from spreading throughout the body.
Consistency Is Key For Diabetes Management
Managing diabetes needs to be a way of life, not an inconvenient task that has to be undertaken. Being consistent helps to build active diabetes management into your lifestyle.
• Take your medication as prescribed. Build your medication management into your routine so it becomes second nature. Diabetes burnout can develop, leading a person to neglect to monitor their blood sugar levels and take their medications. That neglect can lead to the worsening of the disease.
• Eat mindfully. Eating an unhealthy, high-sugar diet can cause your diabetes to worsen and become harder to manage. Therefore, being proactive in making healthy food choices is imperative. Your doctor has likely given you guidelines to follow to keep your blood sugar levels in a safe range. Reducing your sugar intake and boosting your fiber consumption is probably on that list. Knowing the common sources of sugar and fiber will help you identify foods to avoid or consume more of.
• Get moving. You don’t have to jump into a high-impact fitness routine. Healthy movement can be as simple as walking several times a week. Stand more often. Physical activity gets your blood circulating, helping to even out your blood sugar and maintain a healthy weight.
• Reduce stress. Stress causes inflammation, which in turn harms many parts of our bodies. It also raises blood sugar and can lead to high blood pressure. Exercise, adequate sleep, and meditation are all means of reducing stress in the body.
• Quit smoking. The CDC states that smokers have a 30-40% increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes than non-smokers. Smoking also makes it harder to manage diabetes due to increased inflammation in the body.
Diabetes can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health. It’s imperative to actively manage it before it begins its onslaught against your body.