3 Tips for Patients with Diabetes to Keep Their Hearts Healthy
With diabetes comes greater risk of heart disease. But it is possible to manage both conditions effectively. Here are three easy tips to follow:
Experts suggest that you modify, not overhaul, your diet1. Try some of these simple modifications every day:
• Go for more vegetables and have fruits in moderation
• When cooking, use oils such as vegetable, olive or sunflower oil2.
• Drinks are one way where a lot of sugar can sneak into your diet, so watch what you drink. When drinking soda, fruit juices, milk tea, or other beverages, read the labels carefully for sugar content2.
• Think fiber, especially soluble fiber found in avocados, potatoes, carrots, and apples, to achieve a lower LDL level (also known as “bad” cholesterol). Also, the next time you grab a loaf of bread, go for whole grain or white bread. Getting rice? Go for the bag of brown rice2
Exercising has a host of benefits, including controlling blood sugar, strengthening the heart and lungs, improving blood pressure, and controlling cholesterol. An article by Harvard Medical School3 says that if you choose to do “just one thing” for managing diabetes and heart disease, choose exercise.
If you are already doing a fair bit of walking before or after work or even on the weekends, congratulations! Walking has been shown to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance.
A combination of diabetes and high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol levels further raises your risk for heart disease.
Keep track of your blood pressure and cholesterol. Here is a cheat sheet with key terms to remember, and numbers to aim for.
If you have the means, consider purchasing a device to take readings at home.
Speak to your doctor to understand how you can best manage your diabetes and risk of heart disease. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to other specialists such as a nutritionist, to help you create a suitable meal care plan specific for your needs and preferences.