It’s possible that every individual in India knows a relative, a neighbor or a friend who is a diabetes patient. It’s because more than 62 million people in the country live with the disease and research predicts that the numbers will increase to 100 million by 2030. Diabetes is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, and resultant mortality in the country and there exists an urgent need to raise awareness about how diabetes is preventable/ manageable if necessary precautions are taken.
Our body turns foods into sugar or glucose after digestion. Once this process is complete, the pancreas release insulin, a substance that helps the cells absorb the glucose and produce energy. Diabetes occurs due to the body’s inability to produce adequate insulin causing a rise in the blood glucose levels. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia). While Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease, there are other forms as well including gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy and abdominal diabetes.
Lifestyle irregularities are the major causes of Type 2 diabetes. It is a fact that the prevalence of diabetes in rural India is one-quarter that in urban India. The reason for this is the high-stress lives that urban Indians live. They exercise and sleep less, eat a primarily unhealthy, high trans-fat, salt and sugar-laden diet and resort to smoking and drinking as ways of dealing with high-stress levels. Lifestyle modifications are crucial in order to eliminate disease risks and associated complications.
Diabetic patients develop heart issues because of the chemical changes that take place in their blood after insulin production stops. Such alterations in the system make way for deposition of plaque on the walls of blood vessels causing them to harden and block the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. High amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes often mark the onset of coronary atherosclerosis. Eventually, the arteries can rupture causing clots and subsequent complete blockages triggering heart attacks. People who have type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance have higher levels of substances in the blood that cause blood clots. Blood clots can block the coronary arteries and cause a heart attack or even death.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is another common condition caused by diabetes. Akin to atherosclerosis, plaque forms in the arteries causing blood to flow to lower extremities, causing the tissues in the feet and toes to damage and eventually die. Such cases are often cured by amputation.
Why are people with diabetes at an increased risk of developing heart diseases?
- High blood pressure and Hypertension
According to studies, medical experts have found a close association between hypertension and insulin resistance. In cases where patients have diabetes and hypertension, the risk of having a heart attack or a heart stroke instantly doubles.
- Cholesterol levels and high triglycerides
It has been found that diabetic patients have unbalanced and unhealthy cholesterol levels including a high quantity of LDL/bad cholesterol and low quantity of HDL/good cholesterol and high triglycerides. This poor balance puts and individual at an increases risk of suffering from cardiovascular issues at an early age. Not only this, records show that diabetic individuals may also develop insulin resistance associated lipid disorder known as atherogenic dyslipidemia or diabetic dyslipidemia.
Obesity, weight gain, and unhealthy eating habits are some of the factors that strike your mind first when you talk about the causes of diabetes. It’s because obesity has been linked to insulin resistance and heart diseases from time immemorial. Medical experts have talked about the significance of maintaining a balance when it comes to bodyweight because it can elevate cardiovascular issues, decrease insulin concentration and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Lack of physical activity
An individual’s lifestyle can truly make or break one’s health. The significance of indulging in physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is often ignored but is one of the major factors for securing health. Striking a balance in body weight can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, control blood pressure and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises at least five days a week. Albeit, it is suggested that one should consult his/her doctor before taking up a workout regime.
What can you do to prevent/control diabetes?
- Consult your doctor and plan out a suitable workout regime because it is really important if you want to save your heart
- Check your cholesterol levels and triglycerides regularly
- Maintain a normal blood sugar level
- Inculcate a behavioral change; don’t stop taking precautions once the disease has been controlled
- Eat a healthily and balanced diet
To decrease the medical casualties caused by diabetes, it’s not only important to understand the causes of the disease, but it is equally important to implement the precautionary measures in life.
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