People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage the blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease. People with diabetes tend to develop heart disease at a younger age than someone who doesn´t have diabetes. In fact, vascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.
Taking care of your diabetes and the accompanying conditions can help you lower your chances of heart and blood vessel disease. Even if you already have heart disease or have had a heart attack or a stroke, every step you take to keep your ABCs (A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol) in your target range will help lower your risk of future heart disease or a stroke.
What is ABC? A is for A1C. Your A1C check, which also may be reported as estimated average glucose (eAG), tells you your average blood glucose for the past two to three months. B is for blood pressure. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should. C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL cholesterol, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL cholesterol, can clog your arteries. High triglycerides raise your risk for heart attack or a stroke.
There are several heart-related warning signs you should keep an eye on, including chest discomfort when you walk or exercise, chest pain along with fatigue or shortness of breath, or if your heart rate is usually faster than 100 beats per minute. In case of these signs, you should seek medical attention.
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Developing or maintaining healthy lifestyle habits can help you prevent heart disease and manage your diabetes. It is important to follow a healthy eating plan and get enough sleep. Making physical activity part of your routine is also essential.
A recent international study led by the University of Otago in New Zealand has revealed how exercise can reduce the chance of diabetes leading on to heart disease. It found that exercise triggers the release of small sequences of genetic code called microRNA, which increase protein production to improve heart structure and function. We covered exercise guidelines for people with diabetes here. The researchers found that specific microRNA is adversely altered in the early stages of diabetes and can reliably predict the inevitable onset of heart disease. This is a pivotal new development as microRNA can serve as a reliable early biomarker for heart disease in diabetes. The study also showed that microRNA is a potential novel target for the therapeutic treatment of heart disease in people with diabetes.
This research has clear long-term benefits for the quality of life of people living with diabetes who have heart disease, as well as alleviating the economic burden associated with the current treatment of diabetes. “By understanding the physiological role of microRNA, it is possible to see without doubt the positive role of exercise in preventing diabetic heart disease,” one of the lead New Zealand researchers added.