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How does diabetes affect the heart?

Diabetes and your heart

Heart disease, particularly ischaemic heart disease, is one of the top leading causes of death in the Philippines in 2020, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). It’s been found that having diabetes puts you at a larger risk for having a heart disease. In 2020, PSA listed down diabetes mellitus as the fourth in the top causes of deaths in the country, which Dr. Gilbert Vilela, vice president of the Philippine Heart Association mentioned it as "a very silent and persistent problem".

While the Department of Health (DOH) spearheads efforts in raising awareness and educating the public on diabetes and heart diseases, find out how you can prevent it so you live a healthy, fulfilling life.

Heart diseases and diabetes

There are many types of heart disease, with the most common cause being coronary artery disease. This occurs when blood vessels are blocked or become narrow, thus constricting blood flow into the heart. Other types of heart problems include those that are related to the heart's valves, or the heart failing to pump which causes heart failure.

Genetics play a role in heart diseases and other related conditions, meaning this could be inherited from either mother or father. However, the risk for heart disease goes up when heredity is coupled with unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking tobacco and eating an unhealthy diet.

Diabetes on the other hand, is a condition where your blood sugar is too high. This then affects how your body turns food into energy. When one has diabetes, the body cannot make enough insulin, or can't use the insulin as it should. Insulin is a hormone created by the pancreas that controls blood sugar, stores glucose in your muscles and liver, and regulates how your body metabolises carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When there isn't enough insulin or your body stops responding to it, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which puts you at risk with heart and kidney disease, and other health problems.

Diabetes is also a hereditary disease. But over the years, it has also become a lifestyle disease, with over 4 million adults in the Philippines diagnosed with it.

How does diabetes affect the heart?

It's been found that those with diabetes are at a greater risk of having heart problems. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves controlling your heart. People with diabetes raise the risk for having heart diseases such as high blood pressure where blood flow is increased and puts the risk in damading artery walls; too much LDL or "bad" cholesterol; or too little HDL or "good" cholesterol that is thought to contribute to hardening the arteries. People with diabetes are also at risk of heart failure. This occurs when the heart cannot pump blood well, causing fluid buildup in your lungs that makes it hard to breathe.

Other factors that raise your chances in getting heart disease include smoking tobacco, excessive intake of alcohol, being obese, not getting enough physical activity, and eating a diet that's high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt.

Diabetes is also a risk factor for stroke. A stroke happens when the blood supply to your brain is suddenly interrupted, thus damaging the brain tissue. Most strokes happen because of a blood clot blocking a blood vessel. A stroke may cause problems with movement, thinking, speaking, and even pain and numbness.

How to take care of your health?

Fortunately, there are easier ways to keep your heart healthy and manage your blood sugar levels. Some of the tips are:

  1. Keep your diet complete and balanced to help maintain blood sugar levels! Diabetasol is meal replacement nutrition created for easier daily diet management.

  2. If you love your sweets, eat in moderation. You can also choose to substitute your usual, like going for dark chocolate instead of regular chocolate, or even opting for fresh fruits.

  3. Walk around if you can! At least 30 minutes of walking is good for the heart.

  4. Say no to smoking.

  5. Opt to cook your own meal so you can control the amount of salt and fats going into it.

For people with diabetes, having balanced daily nutrition intake is crucial to keep blood sugar levels stable. Diabetasol, Balance Nutrition for Diabetes with Vitadigest (mix of slow release carbohydrate and fiber) which is Clinically Proven to perform low Glycemic Index (GI) profile and creates longer full feeling. Diabetasol is also completed with High Calcium, High Fiber, Cholesterol Free, 11 vitamins, and 6 minerals. Drink Diabetasol daily to help maintain blood sugar level. Diabetasol provides solutions for people with diabetes with a wide product range from nutrition powder, sweetener safe for diabetic, up to daily diabetic snacks category.

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