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Why Blood Sugar Control Benefits the Heart


When there’s talk about high blood sugar level, concerns are usually associated with diabetes. But did you know there’s a strong link between heart disease and blood sugar level as well?

Heart disease symptoms may not be present in diabetes patients, but diabetes, when managed poorly, is already causing hardening of the arteries, and damaging the blood vessels, which contributes to heart damage.

According to a study cited by WebMD, individuals whose blood sugar level was high enough to meet the criteria of being diabetic had a 50 percent greater possibility of death within a month than individuals whose blood sugar level was in the “normal” range. Individuals with raised blood sugar level also had a high risk of death from cardiovascular disease, even if the blood sugar readings were only slightly above the normal range.

Another study found that females with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease compared with women of similar age who aren’t diabetic. Also, cardiovascular disease followed by stroke or heart attack is the main cause of death in males and females with diabetes.

How to manage cardiovascular factors and blood sugar?

Regular exercise, meditation along with reducing the consumption of smoking and alcohol are some measures that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. As for managing blood glucose levels, Dexcom’s blood glucose meter and other monitoring devices can be used to gain insight on average glucose levels and hypoglycemia risk. This high-quality data can help you assess the quality of your glycemic control so you can take appropriate steps to bring down blood glucose levels.

For instance, if the data points towards high blood glucose levels, you can lower the intake of high-glycemic foods such as cereals and bread. The data can also be used to see which foods increase your blood sugar and vice versa. Diet modifications along with an active lifestyle is the key to reducing chronic diabetes and heart-disease risks.

Why diabetics have a greater risk of heart disease?

High blood sugar is now regarded as a strong risk factor for heart disease. Individuals suffering from this condition have increased susceptibility to damaged blood vessels because of the inadequate control of blood glucose levels on the tissues over a long period, or due to cell damage caused by diabetes.

Obesity is also a reason. Having poor blood glucose control and a sedentary lifestyle can increase chances of abnormalities in blood lipid profile (increase in bad cholesterol and decrease in good cholesterol) and blood pressure (in the high range). Diabetic patients may also suffer from some inflammation in their arterial lining, which contributes to blood vessel modifications causing cardiovascular disease.

While this is a growing concern, the answer to what is the best solution for diabetics to lower their cardiovascular risks remains a matter of debate. The promising outcome is the advice to aggressively control high cholesterol and hypertension. Controlling and monitoring blood-glucose will further reduce the risk of heart disease.

Research conducted on diabetic vets revealed a significant reduction in the measure of strokes, heart failure, heart attacks and circulation-related amputations among the individuals who were maintaining blood sugar levels for 5.5 years on average. The most encouraging part is most of the benefits can be achieved via modest, rather than high, drops in blood sugar levels.

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