Heart disease or cardiovascular disease is known to affect people having diabetes by up to four times as compared to people who do not have diabetes. Over the years, experts have gained substantial knowledge about what are the causes of heart disease and how it relates to diabetes, and of course, how to prevent it. Many people, though, are not aware of what the new research says about heart disease and diabetes and there are many myths that prevail in the minds of people with relation to diabetes and heart disease. This article is an attempt to check the facts versus the myths about diabetes and heart disease.
Myth 1: You Need To Take It Easy If You Have Heart Disease
Fact: Most people who have heart disease believe that being sedentary and taking it easy is the way to go. However, for those suffering from heart problems, being sedentary is actually the worst possible thing you can do. A sedentary lifestyle can cause potential blood clots to form in the legs and it can also cause a decline in your overall health.
Physical activity is important for heart patients as it helps to strengthen the heart muscles and also improves blood flow to your internal organs and the brain. Before starting an exercising schedule, though, it is a good idea to consult your doctor about what kind of exercise you want to do and how much exercise would be right for your condition. For example, walking is one such physical activity that is good for everyone and it is known to boost your heart health as well.
Myth 2: You Can Lower Your Risk With Vitamins And Other Supplements
Fact: Many people are of the opinion that if they are consuming vitamins and other health supplements, then it lowers their risk of getting heart disease. Mostly it is believed that antioxidant vitamins, particularly vitamin E, C, and beta-carotene, can help cut down your risk of heart disease. However, when clinical trials were carried out on these supplements, the results failed to confirm any firm benefit and no conclusion was ultimately derived at the end of the trials. Thus, there is no scientific evidence to show that vitamins and other supplements have any contribution to lowering the risk of heart disease or to even treat the same.
Instead of depending on vitamins and supplements, the better way is to try and consume these vitamins and minerals through natural foods. Skip these store-bought supplements and opt for consuming a variety of green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and other nutritious foods.
Myth 3: Only Overweight Or Obese People Get Diabetes
Fact: Another common myth that people believe that being overweight or obese is going to double your chances of getting diabetes. However, while being overweight is one of the risk factors, it is certainly not the only risk factor. Factors such as overall health, family history, genetics, and your age, also have an important role to play in determining your chances of getting diabetes.
In fact, the majority of people who are overweight do not develop diabetes, and there are many people who have type 2 diabetes who maintain an average weight. This is why regardless of your weight, a healthy lifestyle is the only way to make sure you lower your chances of getting diabetes.
Myth 4: You Can Never Touch Desserts Again
Fact: Even if you have diabetes and heart disease, it does not mean that you have to cut out all sweets from your diet. It is ok to enjoy a cookie or a slice of cake every now or then. The important part to remember is that you must control your portion size and have it in moderation. If you suffer from diabetes, then you need to ensure that you are limiting the consumption of other carbohydrates in your meal when you are having your favorite sweet.
Don’t throw out your carb target. It is also possible to often find a low-carb and healthier version of the sweet treat you want to have.
Myth 5: Diabetes Will Not Cause Heart Disease As You Are Already Taking Diabetes Medication
Fact: This is a big misconception that diabetics often have. Diabetes medication is taken for lowering your blood sugar levels, not for maintaining your heart health. The medication makes sure that you have normal blood sugar levels because this prevents any further complications that can affect the smaller blood vessels in your body causing side effects such as loss of vision, nerve damage, kidney disease, and even erectile dysfunction.
Controlling blood sugar through has little to no effect on the larger blood vessels in the body, which can still become inflamed and diseased. This is what increases the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Lowering your cholesterol levels and blood pressure is what will benefit the large blood vessels of the body, thus lowering your risk of heart disease.
Now to look at some facts.
Fact 1: Heart Disease Can Affect Men And Women Both
For many years it was believed that heart disease affects men more than women. Research has now shown that heart disease is actually one of the biggest cause of death amongst women as well. However, due to this long-standing idea that women are not as susceptible to heart disease as men, many women affected by heart disease are still overlooked and undertreated.
The reason why women are equally susceptible to heart disease as men are because factors such as high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and inactivity, are the same for both genders and also affect both genders in a similar manner. This is why, be it a woman or a man, everyone needs to take steps to lower their risk of getting heart disease. The best way to lower your risk is to maintain a healthy lifestyle by managing your stress levels, eating healthy, and by staying active.
Fact 2: If Your Family Has A History Of Heart Disease, You Can Still Prevent It
People tend to believe that if there is a history of heart disease in your family then they will also surely get it. However, while you have a higher risk of developing heart disease, it does not mean that you cannot do anything to prevent it. You should talk to your doctor and put in place an action plan that will help you maintain good heart health. Some things you can consider including in the plan can be:
- Set goals for having a healthy diet and a daily workout routine
- Monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar levels routinely
- Find out ways which can help you manage your stress levels
- Stop smoking and excessive drinking
- Keep a journal of your progress
This will help you significantly lower the risk of developing heart disease, in spite of your family history.
Fact 3: Women With Diabetes Have A Higher Risk Of Developing Heart Disease
Research has shown that women who have diabetes have a 40% higher risk of developing heart disease as well as a 25% higher chance of getting a stroke as compared to men who have diabetes. While experts remain unsure about why the risk is so much higher in women, it is believed that a woman’s biology may have a role to play in this. Women are known to have more body fat, which is thought to put them at an increased risk for both heart disease and stroke.
Now that the facts and myths have been sorted out regarding heart disease and diabetes, you can begin making healthy choices to begin having a healthy lifestyle. Being proactive in managing diabetes and heart disease will help you prevent any serious complications in the future.