The number one cause of death for people who have diabetes is heart disease. In fact, having diabetes increases a person’s chances of dying from heart disease by two to three times. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 74 percent of individuals with diabetes also have high blood pressure, which is one of the major factors for heart disease.
How are Diabetes and Heart Disease Connected?
When blood sugar levels remain high over a length of time, it can harm the blood vessels and nerves that are involved with making the heart work properly. Because of this, people who have had diabetes for a longer period of time are at greater risk for developing heart disease. In addition, having diabetes often leads to getting heart disease at a younger than normal age.
People who have diabetes are also more likely to have some of the risk factors for heart disease, such as:
- · High cholesterol.
- · High triglycerides.
- · High blood pressure.
- · Obesity.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Heart Disease?
The good news is that there are many ways older adults with diabetes can prevent the development of heart disease. Some steps you can help your aging family member to take include:
· Reach a Healthy Weight: Carrying excess weight can affect the body’s ability to use insulin and makes the heart work harder. So, if your loved one is overweight, it’s important that they try to reach a healthy weight. Your older family member’s doctor can refer them to a dietician to help develop a healthy eating plan that helps control blood sugar levels and promotes weight loss.
· Exercise: Exercise is good for heart health and helps the body to use excess blood sugar. Before starting an exercise plan, talk to the older adult’s doctor to make sure they are healthy enough. Once the doctor has cleared them for exercise, work toward the senior exercising about 30 minutes per day several times per week.
· Quit Smoking: If your aging relative smokes, they should quit. Nicotine contributes to the narrowing of arteries.
· Manage Blood Sugar: Keeping blood sugar under control can help to prevent damage to blood vessels. Make sure your aging relative checks their blood sugar and takes medications as directed.
· Control Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: If the senior has been prescribed medications for blood pressure or cholesterol, it’s important that they take it.
Senior care can assist older adults with diabetes to manage the condition and prevent heart disease. A senior care provider can cook healthy meals that meet the requirements of the meal plan developed by the dietician. Senior care providers can also assist your loved one to be more physically active by driving them to exercise classes or helping them to exercise at home. Finally, senior care providers can remind older adults when it is time to take medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home senior care in Birmingham, AL, please contact the caring staff at 205-490-1079. We service Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Pelham, Pinson, McCalla, Trussville, Adamsville, Chelsea, Mountain Brook, and Homewood.