The Connection Between Diabetes and Heart Disease
People often don’t realize that coronary artery disease can be associated with high levels of blood sugar. Diabetes can cause coronary arteries to become inflamed, narrowed, or obstructed, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood, unmanaged Type 2 diabetes can eventually attack the smaller blood vessels. When combined with high blood pressure, diabetes can double the risk of heart disease.
Making the following lifestyle changes can help prevent Type 2 diabetes and lower your risk of coronary artery disease:
- Get a baseline A1C test. If you’re over 45, or younger than 45 with one or more risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, ask your doctor about testing your glucose levels.
- Lose weight. People with prediabetes should try to lose at least 7% of their body weight to prevent disease progression.
- Get moving. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days per week and resistance or strength training two to three times per week.
- Be sugar aware. Think about how much sugar you’re putting into your body and the harm it’s doing.
- Eat healthier. Limit simple carbs and make sure you’re eating enough fiber-rich foods and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (“good”) fats.