It might seem unrelated, but controlling your blood sugar levels benefits your heart health. When you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels, it can damage the lining of your arteries and increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. But by following a few simple tips to keep your blood sugar under control, you can improve your heart health and reduce your risk for these serious health problems.
How Blood Suger Affects Your Heart
Your heart is a muscle that needs energy to function properly. That energy comes from the food you eat, and one of the most important nutrients for your heart is glucose, which is sugar. When your blood sugar levels are too high, it can put a lot of stress on your heart and contribute to problems like heart disease and stroke.
This stress comes from the added force of blood moving through blood vessels. Sugar also decreases the elasticity of veins and blood vessels. When veins aren’t able to expand, they will stay narrow which reduces the supply of blood and oxygen to other parts of the body. The added pressure is what damages the vein.
Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves. These nerves control the function of the heart and damage to them can have deadly consequences. Heart complications and heart attack risks rise when blood sugar is not controlled.
But when your blood sugar levels are under control, it can help keep your heart healthy. One study found that people with diabetes who kept their blood sugar levels under control were less likely to develop heart disease than those who did not. And another study showed that controlling blood sugar levels could actually reverse damage to the lining of the arteries in people with diabetes.
Diabetes and Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes. In fact, people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than those without diabetes. This is partly because high blood sugar levels can damage the heart muscle and increase the risk for a heart attack.
Many people with diabetes aren’t even aware of the risks involved with their heart health. While the risk is there, the American Heart Association considered it a controllable risk factor. They advise that people who are diabetic treat their heart health as if they have already had a heart-related health event.
Facts from the AHA:
- If you have diabetes, your chance of dying from cardiovascular heart disease is two times more likely
- Every 80 seconds, an adult is hospitalized for heart disease in the US
- Every two minutes, an adult with diabetes is hospitalized for stroke
- Having type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease shortens a person over 60’s life expectancy by 12 years
Along with blood sugar issues, it is thought people with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for heart problems because of their lifestyle. Those who are inactive, obese, have unmanaged high blood sugar or cholesterol will be at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Tips for Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
So how can you keep your blood sugar levels under control? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to controlling blood sugar levels, but there are some general tips that can help.
A few simple things you can do to reduce your risk for heart disease and other serious health problems.:
- Eating regular meals and snacks helps your body to better control blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is stable, you’re less likely to experience energy crashes or mood swings. You’re also less likely to overeat or indulge in unhealthy foods.
- Along with a healthy diet, it’s important to get regular exercise. Exercise helps to improve your heart health by reducing blood pressure, increasing HDL cholesterol levels. Exercise will keep your blood moving and and your circulation working correctly.
- Choose foods that are low in sugar and carbs. A healthy diet is important for keeping your heart healthy. Eating regular meals and snacks that are low in sugar and high in fiber can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Fiber helps to keep blood sugar stable, while also providing other health benefits like reducing cholesterol levels and promoting regular digestion. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Avoid sugary drinks and stick to water. Sodas and juices are full of sugar and not any or many other nutrients. They are empty calories that only serve to increase your blood sugar levels.
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels and work with your doctor to make sure they are in the target range. A healthy blood sugar level will be about 80-130 mg/dL for you eat and again one or two hours after you eat.
Health and Heart Benefits of Controlling Blood Sugar
When you control your blood sugar, you are helping to protect your heart. While protecting the heart is the main goal of our article, you will experience many other benefits as well.
The health benefits can come in many forms related to a lower blood sugar level. You may have lost weight, started exercising more, started choosing healthier food, or created a better eating plan overall. With changes like these, you will begin to have a better quality of life, and this in itself could help to lower blood pressure too!
Treatments to Control Blood Sugar
There are different treatments that work to control blood sugar levels. One popular treatment is insulin injections. With regular use of insulin, you can keep blood sugar levels under control and vastly reduce your risk of heart disease or a heart attack.
Metformin: A common medication used to control blood sugar levels. It is a pill that can be taken orally and helps the body to better use the insulin that is produced. Metformin can help protect the heart in people with diabetes, as well as help to prevent other conditions such as kidney disease.
DPP-4: This is a medication that helps the body to produce more insulin. It also helps the body to better use the insulin that is already present.
Novolog: This is an insulin injection that helps to lower blood sugar levels very quickly. It comes in both short and long-acting varieties and can be used by people with diabetes to help keep blood sugar levels under control.
Lantus: This is a long-acting insulin injection that helps to keep blood sugar levels steady for an extended period of time. It can be used by people with diabetes to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
By controlling your blood sugar, you are helping to protect your heart and improve your quality. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to take the medications prescribed by your doctor to help.
Make An Appointment With The Vein Centre
If you would like to have your veins checked, please make an appointment with the Vein Centre. We can help you to determine if you are at risk for vein disease and provide treatment if necessary. Contact us today to book your appointment!