Diabetes can come with many complications, such as higher risk of depression, low libido, eye damage and kidney disease. Worse yet, diabetes can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke as well. Not only do you need to manage your diabetes, but you need to manage your overall health in order to prevent a heart attack.
There are many risk factors diabetes and heart attack have in common, so it’s no surprise that the two are linked. One thing to keep in mind is that many of the risk factors are lifestyle habits, which can easily be adjusted in order to live a healthier life.
Link between diabetes and heart attack risk
There was an ongoing study which followed 10,000 patients with type 2 diabetes. The study, called Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD), was halted in 2008 when researchers discovered something unexpected.
A hemoglobin A1C test is a blood test which measures the amount of sugar stuck on red blood cells to determine how well blood sugar is being controlled. Ideal results from diabetes should reveal below seven percent, according to recommendations from the American Diabetes Association. Previous research showed a one percent drop (from nine percent to eight percent, for example) could reduce diabetes-related complications by 35 percent, but the new research suggests otherwise.
By examining the participants in the ACCORD study, researchers found a hemoglobin A1C result below six percent had a greater risk of death compared to those at seven percent. The new findings radically change the common recommendations set out by the American Diabetes Association. Researchers felt if seven was recommended, then anything below it should reduce diabetes complications even more: unfortunately, the new study proved otherwise.
8 tips to reduce the risk of heart attack in diabetics
It may already be hard enough to stick with a plan that helps better manage your diabetes, but there isn’t much of a difference between managing diabetes and cutting your risk of heart attack down. In fact, both diseases share many common lifestyle habits, so if you’re already managing well with your diabetes, you’re doing a service for your heart, too.
Here are eight ways to better manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of heart attack.
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in a day – keep in mind it doesn’t need to be vigorous.
- Eat heart-healthy foods – these foods are typically also beneficial for your diabetes because they won’t cause sugar spikes.
- Check and manage your blood pressure.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight.
- Stop smoking or never start smoking.
- Check and maintain healthy cholesterol.
- Ask your doctor about a daily aspirin.
- Always take medications as prescribed.
Not only will these tips lower your risk of heart attack, they can also help get your diabetes under control. If you have diabetes, unfortunately you’re at a higher risk for many health complications. But with some planning you can very well improve your diabetes condition at the same time as protecting your heart.