November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and much like the pink ribbons that have become synonymous with breast cancer awareness month in October, blue circles worn on lapels and public service announcements during November help educate the public on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. From causes to prevention, it’s a way to help people understand this disease that affects almost 10 percent of the population in the United States.
Here at Piedmont HomeHealth, we want to do our part in Diabetes Awareness Month education by bringing to light the link between heart disease and diabetes, as this is a big health risk factor in people 65 and older. According to the American Heart Association, at least 68 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease, and 16 percent die of stroke.
The connection between diabetes and heart disease starts with high blood glucose levels. Over time, the increased amount of glucose in the blood can cause damage to the arteries, which will make them stiff and hard. Then, as fatty material builds up inside the blood vessels, it can eventually block blood flow to the heart or brain, leading to heart attack or stroke.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to help lower your risks of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
1. Control your diabetes. Maintaining good control of your blood sugar level is important in helping reduce symptoms of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Make sure to monitor your blood sugar and stay away from foods high in sugars and carbohydrates.
2. Monitor your blood pressure. Keeping regular check of your blood pressure will help you be aware of steps you should take as far as diet and medication.
3. Get regular exercise. Staying active is important to help control both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Try to plan time each day for a walk or an exercise class for seniors. Doing yoga or tai chi are ways to enjoy low impact exercise, and both also help with balance and strength.
4. Watch your weight. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly will help you avoid gaining those extra pounds. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease, because the extra weight makes your body work harder at the daily tasks it needs to perform.
5. Work with your doctor. Make sure your mediations are performing as they should be and that you aren’t suffering from any unwanted complications.
If you or someone you care about is suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular disease, the staff at Piedmont HomeHealth can help. We’re available to help with making sure medications are taken at the appropriate time, preparing nutritious meals and helping you stay active. For more information on how we can help, call Piedmont HomeHealth today at 336-724-1197.