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By NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health
Diabetes can do a lot of damage to your health, such as nerve damage, vision loss and kidney disease. It can also lead to heart disease — the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.
What exactly is the connection between the two diseases?
Diabetes makes it difficult for the body to regulate blood sugar. Typically, when food is broken down and sugar is released into the blood stream, the increase in blood sugar (glucose) triggers the pancreas to release insulin, which helps move glucose into the body’s cells to use for energy.
In people with diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t release enough insulin, or their body doesn’t use it as effectively. As a result, their blood sugar level becomes higher than normal and, over time, this can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control the
“People who have diabetes are more likely to also have high blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems or stroke,” said Arman Qamar, MD MPH, an interventional cardiologist and the director of the CardioDiabetes Initiative at the NorthShore University HealthSystem, part of NorthShore – Edward-Elmhurst Health.
The good news is people with diabetes can improve their health with lifestyle changes that will also lower their risk for heart disease. Some tips to keep in mind include:
It’s also important to realize that being prediabetic doesn’t mean diabetes is inevitable. There are things you can do to avoid that diagnosis. If you are prediabetic, losing weight, eating healthy and regular exercise are three primary ways to reduce your diabetes risk that will also reduce your risk of heart disease.
Learn more about diabetes care at NorthShore University HealthSystem.
The Wellness Center at Northwest Community Hospital provides an integrated approach to health and wellness through fitness and nutrition. Reshape your fitness routine at the Wellness Center.
Your heart is in good hands when you choose us for cardiovascular care. Learn more about our high-quality heart care.