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The Ins & Outs of Heart Disease

Diabetes mellitus increases risk for heart disease.  What is heart disease?  What are the risks?  How can risks be reduced?  These questions might have come to mind if your doctor mentioned this heightened risk.  Consider the following to reduce your risk for heart disease.

Heart disease is a disorder in which arteries become clogged and ultimately, blocked with plaque deposits causing a lack of blood flow to the heart.  

There are 5 primary risk factors greatly influencing risk for heart disease.  These 5 risk factors are:

  1. obesity - a body weight 20% over the ideal body weight for height 
  2. physical inactivity - lack of exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise increases risk
  3. smoking - this is due to the stimulant (nicotine) that increases heart rate and the carbon monoxide breathed in
  4. elevated blood cholesterol - a total cholesterol of 240 mg/dl increases risk as well as a LDL-cholesterol over 130 mg/dl and/or a HDL-cholesterol under 35 mg/dl
  5. elevated blood pressure - increased blood pressure equates to increased force for blood to move though the body (this means extra work for your body)

All other risk factors are considered secondary.  Secondary risk factors are other risk factors that can directly affect the primary risk factors which lead to heart disease.  

Having diabetes is considered a secondary risk factor... however, having diabetes increases risk for elevated blood cholesterol.  Additionally, those with type 2 diabetes may also be obese and physically inactive (2 other primary risk factors).

To reduce your risk...

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight - a reduction of 5-10% of total body weight can be beneficial.
  2. Exercise - incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week, every week.
  3. Don't smoke!
  4. Control blood sugars - talk with your doctor or diabetes educator about blood sugar goals.
  5. Follow a low fat diet - consume <30% calories from fat, <10% calories from saturated fat, & <300 mg. dietary cholesterol.
  6. Limit processed and high sodium foods - consume <2400 mg. sodium each day.
  7. Eat seafood twice a week - research is finding seafood has protective benefits against heart disease.  Prepare seafood by baking, grilling or poaching instead of frying (frying adds fat).
  8. Focus on whole grains, vegetables, & fruits.  These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Talk with your doctor to learn about your risk factors for heart disease and what steps you should take to reduce your risk today!


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Diabetes articles with topics covering diabetes medications diabetes complications diabetic diet and nutrition facts for those diagnosed with diabetes.  Menus are prepared by professional diabetes educators.  Weekly diabetes menu includes a grocery list diabetes recipes and nutrition analysis.

Diabetes care is specific and all of the information on the DiabetesPlanner.com website may not apply to you.  Our diabetes menus diabetes recipes and other diabetes information are not intended to replace professional medical advice & be aware of diabetes complications and other issues.  Always check with your physician prior to starting a diabetic diet diabetes medications or exercise program.