Of the many health conditions that people live with, diabetes is considered to be one which requires most discipline in terms of food and lifestyle, else it can severely harm the body, mainly the heart.
In most cases, diabetes requires life-long treatment to keep the glucose level in the blood within the normal range. Sugar is the source of energy for our body cells, and it is stored in the liver as a form of glycogen. In diabetes, a human body becomes unable to produce enough insulin hormones; even if it can produce, it fails to utilise the hormone properly. Insulin allows our body to turn glucose into energy. If the body struggles in metabolising glucose, it can lead to high blood sugar levels.
Dr Sanjay Gogia, director, internal medicine at Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh, says that diabetes has some adverse consequences on health that include high cholesterol, increased chances of heart attack, and stroke.
“Data from the American Heart Association has shown 65 per cent of people with diabetes lose their lives due to some sort of heart disease or stroke. Diabetic patients have a risk of developing cardiovascular disease that is more than double that of the people who do not have diabetes. For diabetics, sugar can stay in their bloodstream and leak out of the liver into their blood, with subsequent damage to the arteries, causing them to become stiff and hard,” he explains.
So, what kind of lifestyle changes should diabetic people make?
The best way to prevent or lower the risk of heart diseases is to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle, the doctor says.
* Diabetes needs continuous monitoring and medical care. It is crucial to keep the blood sugar level under control.
* As diabetes often gives birth to hypertension, frequent screening is necessary to keep a track of the blood pressure level, control the blood pressure. People who suffer from diabetes need to maintain their blood pressure at 130/80 level.
* Cholesterol level must be kept under control, with the guidance of a specialist doctor.
* Losing some weight really helps to manage not only diabetes, but also cholesterol and hypertension.
* Taking out time for daily exercise is a must.
* After consulting a nutritionist, diabetics need to eat a heart-healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet or DASH diet.
* Quit smoking.
* Stress should be managed on a daily basis.