7 Heart Disease Factors You Can Control
People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical aspect of diabetes care.
While patients can't control some of the risk factors for heart disease, like age or family history, there are seven factors you can control, according to the American Heart Association.
Through behavioral changes, lifestyle adjustments, and medication, patients can take charge of their health in the following seven areas:
1. Blood pressure
While certain medications can help you control your blood pressure, losing weight, getting enough exercise and managing stress will all help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for cardiovascular events.
High cholesterol is common in people who eat a standard American diet, but for diabetics, imbalanced cholesterol can be a deadly condition. Get your cholesterol levels checked, lose weight and eat a healthy diet to lower your risk for heart disease. You may need medication to bring your cholesterol levels into a healthy range.
Having diabetes in and of itself can cause heart disease. If your diabetes is well-managed through diet, exercise and insulin control, you are less likely to develop plaque build-up in your arteries or heart disease.
Smoking is directly linked to heart disease. Quitting, however, can lead to improved survival rates and up to a 36-percent reduction in death in patients who have heart disease (which is a greater reduction than any other intervention).
Regular exercise helps reduce risk for heart disease in a number of ways: it lowers blood pressure, improves "good" cholesterol and regulates blood sugar in people who have diabetes. As little as 30 minutes of activity five days a week can reduce your risk for heart disease.
For every two pounds a person is over his or her healthy body weight, there is a three-percent increase in heart attacks. Losing weight can be challenging, but it is important for long-term heart health.
Whether it's eating smaller portion sizes, giving up fast food, or reducing sugar consumption, nearly everyone can eat "cleaner" in some way. Heart-disease culprits are saturated fat, sodium, sugar and alcohol.
Source: Life Bridge