Heart disease and diabetes: All you need to know

Of all the factors, smoking, increasing stress levels, and diabetes are the three major reasons that can cause significant damage to your heart, and may even cause death.

The fast-paced modern lifestyle has taken a toll on our health and made us more susceptible to various Non-Communicable Diseases, or NCDs, all thanks to our erratic sleeping and eating schedule. Of all the factors, smoking, increasing stress levels, and diabetes are the three major reasons that can cause significant damage to your heart, and may even cause death.

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If we look at the world, the onset age for heart diseases is around 50-60 years. In India, until a decade ago, this threshold was 40-50 years which now has further come down to 30-40 years. According to the data provided by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4), 7.2 per cent women and 10.2 per cent men in one of India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh are suffering from high sugar. Irrespective of age, a diabetic person is at a higher risk of developing heart disease, suggests Dr Monik Mehta, chief and senior consultant, cardiology, Columbia Asia Hospital Gurugram. “This is because high sugar content of the blood damages the vessel’s endothelium – cells that line the interior of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, forming a barrier between circulating blood or lymph in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. It is important to take measures for prevention of a heart attack or stroke if the patient has diabetes,” he says.

You can lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke by following these steps:

Keep a check on your diabetes

It is pivotal to know your sugar level as it will help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Quitting smoking if you have diabetes is the first step. Smoking not only increases your chances for heart disease but also creates havoc in your blood sugar level.

Manage your blood pressure

The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm. If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. High blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke and damage kidneys and eyes.

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Check your Cholesterol

Bad cholesterol can build up and clog your blood vessels. Too much bad cholesterol can cause a heart attack or stroke. Good cholesterol helps remove the bad cholesterol from your blood vessels.

Develop healthy lifestyle habits

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is pivotal in managing your diabetes and prevents heart disease.

For this, you need to follow a healthy plan:

Managing diabetes is not always easy. It’s quite common to undergo mood swings like feeling stressed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. Long-term stress can raise your blood glucose and blood pressure, but learning ways to lower your stress is pivotal. To manage stress one can try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, doing yoga, meditating, doing a hobby, or listening to your favourite music.

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Physical activity of almost 20 minutes should be a part of your routine. Getting adequate sleep is also essential to rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.

Take medicine as suggested by your doctor to protect your heart. It will help to meet your blood pressure and cholesterol goals which reduce the risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.

Don’t take chest pain lightly. Treat it as a symptom of heart disease.

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