5 Things You Need to Know About Diabetes and Your Heart
A recent study published in the journal Diabetes Care said that the death rate of people in the US with diabetes has dropped substantially. Plus, the cardiovascular disease death of people with diabetes has dropped as well, but is still much higher than those who don’t have diabetes.
Here’s what you need to know about diabetes and your heart:
- The most common heart problem that diabetes contributes to is atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries. The trouble is that it usually develops silently, long before full-blown diabetes is diagnosed. That’s why I encourage everyone to make regular blood sugar testing a part of your heart health regimen.
- Insulin resistance can damage the heart. The reason is that when your body becomes resistant to insulin, it increases inflammation in your entire body, including your heart. So heart disease can actually start during the pre-diabetes stage known as “insulin resistance.” Again, regular blood sugar testing is your best defense.
- Cholesterol lowering statin drugs can cause diabetes. For many years now, we’ve known that statin drug use can contribute to diabetes. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started requiring statin drug makers to put a diabetes warning on their labels. So, while I do continue to recommend statins for middle-aged men with known coronary artery disease, for most people I feel they're unnecessary and potentially harmful. For more on my cholesterol recommendations, I encourage you to visit my free online Cholesterol Health Center.
- A low-carbohydrate diet can help to ward off diabetes and heart disease. High-glycemic foods release glucose into the bloodstream quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and a subsequent rise in insulin. Instead, I recommend the PAMM diet which includes 45 to 50 percent slow-burning, low-glycemic index carbohydrates; 30 percent healthy fats; and 25 percent protein.
- If you have a family history of diabetes (whether type 1 or type 2) or if you are overweight, you have a higher propensity for developing insulin resistance. Many with insulin resistance also have high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol levels, and high triglycerides, the typical metabolic trio of insulin resistance. So, if you are overweight, or have insulin resistance, I encourage you to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have a question about diabetes and your heart?
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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