top of page
< Back

Your Heart Is Heavily Impacted by Diabetes

Your Heart Is Heavily Impacted by Diabetes

Research has shown that one of the organs greatly impacted by diabetes is the heart. The statistics for cardiac or heart related disease among those with diabetes is astounding.


Nearly 70% of people with diabetes have died from a heart related event. If you have the disease, your risk of dying from a heart attack or heart disease is quadruple what the statistics show for people who don’t have the condition.


Why the Heart Suffers When You Have Diabetes


There’s no doubt that diabetes is a difficult disease. It can make you feel bad physically and emotionally. The fact that there is no cure for the condition makes many people feel like there’s no hope.


But as with many diseases, diabetes is completely manageable, and you should try your best to do exactly that. People who don’t keep their diabetes under control are more likely to have a heart attack or heart disease than diabetics that do practice good lifestyle habits.


However, just having the disease alone is enough to greatly raise your risk factor. There are several reasons why you’re likely to have problems with your heart if you have diabetes.


People with diabetes usually have higher than healthy levels of cholesterol. High cholesterol means that your blood flow can eventually become restricted due to cholesterol building up plaque within your blood vessels.


When the arteries become narrowed from the buildup, your heart is impacted from lack of proper blood flow. So, it has to work harder to pump - and to keep you alive - but it can’t overcome arteries that reach the stage where not enough blood gets through.


High cholesterol can be an inherited trait. For people with diabetes, this trait can be worsened by bad habits such as not eating healthy, not exercising and carrying too much weight.


But just because you’re at a higher risk doesn’t mean that achieving good health is hopeless. Cholesterol can be lowered if you practice smart health habits. You can take control and change those levels just as you can every other aspect of your daily life that can negatively impact your heart because of diabetes.


One of these wise habits to implement is exercise. Not exercising can impact your heart. If you’re not physically active and you don’t have diabetes, it can hurt your heart health - but not to the same degree or with the same risks involved as when you do have it.


The reason that not exercising causes heart issues for diabetics is because exercise is one the best ways to eliminate glucose from the bloodstream. Being physically active helps your body process glucose and fights back against insulin resistance.


Plus, engaging in the right kind of exercise lowers your chances of having a heart attack. If you can, you should commit to a regular regimen involving aerobic exercise - but if you can’t, then even getting up and moving more can help.


Anything that makes you sweat can improve your body’s ability to use glucose and helps lower the risk for your heart. Even if you can only exercise 15 to 20 minutes a day, that does a lot to strengthen and protect your heart.


The Four Steps You Can Take to Lower Your Risk of Heart Problems


When it comes to diabetes, it’s not hopeless. While you may not be able to roll the clock back in time and take away the diagnosis, you can live in such a way that you’re healthier from here on out.


When you do that, your heart won’t face the same level of damage, if any. The very first thing you need to do when you’ve been told you have diabetes is to take stock of your weight.


You may or may not be obese when you get the diagnosis. But if you are obese, your risk factor jumps to the top of the chart. It’s one of the most common factors involved in heart related incidents such as heart attacks.


Carrying around too much excess weight prohibits your body from being able to use insulin correctly. Regardless of whether your body is still making some or you have to go on insulin shots, your weight can be the leading cause of insulin resistance.


When you lose weight, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin. - because then it’s able to better use the glucose and you end up lowering your risks of heart health problems.


The second step you can take is to get your blood pressure under control. Losing weight if you’re obese will naturally help to lower it. But in the meantime, while it’s still high, it can be causing damage to heart.


High blood pressure is one of the main causes of heart attacks. It happens because the higher your blood pressure, the greater the strain on your heart. Having high blood pressure causes damage to the arteries giving blood to your heart.


By taking medication, losing weight and exercising, you can greatly reduce the impact to your heart.


The third step you need to take is to stop smoking if you currently do. Smoking increases your risk of developing heart problems. When smoking is coupled with diabetes, heart attacks and damage are more common.


Finally, the fourth step and the number one reason your heart is heavily impacted by disease is because of glucose levels that are consistently out of control.


When you have diabetes, your glucose can elevate to the point that not only does it damage your heart, causing heart disease - but it can also be fatal. Medications for diabetes can only do so much to keep your levels within a normal range.


If you sabotage the effects of the medication with poor lifestyle choices, then you’re gambling with the health of your heart. Those are stakes that are just too high. The longer your levels are out of range, the more damage that’s being done to your blood vessels and ultimately your heart.


There are specific heart-healthy diet plans that can double as heart-friendly nutritional guidance as well as weight loss plans. There are several plans that promote heart health as well as weight loss – you just have to choose which one works best for you.


The Mediterranean Diet is perfect for those who have diabetes and want to lose weight and protect their heart. You’ll want to modify the diet so that it’s best for diabetics, but you’ll enjoy diabetic relief from parts of the program, such as enjoying lean meat and healthy product while avoiding high doses of sugar and other carbs.


The Ornish Diet is another heart-healthy plan. It’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol foods as well as carbs, making it a great prospect for diabetics. If carbs are included, they’re complex carbs, so you’ll want to see how your body responds to that. This plan also emphasizes good lifestyle habits, such as stress management, smoking cessation and other beneficial changes.


The DASH Diet might be a good choice for you as a diabetic who wants to protect his or her heart. However, you’ll want to watch the inclusion of carbs carefully. It allows for fruits and grains, but also emphasizes lean proteins with an avoidance of saturated fats and high sugar content foods.


The MIND Diet was initially planned for diseases like Alzheimer’s, but the focus on leafy greens, nuts and other vegetables along with fish and poultry make this a diet designed perfectly for diabetics.


Take a multi-pronged approach to your heart health as a diabetic and you’ll prevent a lot of damage that might otherwise occur with this disease. From nutrition to exercise to stress relief, you can manage the condition and protect your heart and other organs easily.


bottom of page