By: Jessica Cook MS, RD, LD/N (Director of Education)
Arguably, the most significant organ found in our bodies is the heart. Unfortunately, many effects of our environment and daily decisions we make can greatly affect our heart. Choosing high fat foods, sugary beverages, smoking, sedentary lifestyle and being overweight or obese are all detrimental to heart health and have made cardiovascular disease the number one killer of women in the United States. In addition, high blood sugar levels or uncontrolled diabetes also impacts the cardiovascular system in terrifying ways.
Being that February is heart awareness month please take the time to consider the following ways you can improve your heart health. Your heart will thank you for it! We hope you enjoy this issue of Healthy Living with Diabetes to obtain new heart healthy ideas to ensure your heart will bring you many more loving years to come.
By: Dr. Paul Aoun
February is heart awareness month. Let us, therefore, take a few moments to reflect on some tips to improve diabetes and heart health for ourselves and our loved ones.
Type II diabetes is-to a certain extent-the cumulative endpoint of longstanding poor dietary choices in the background of limited physical activity and sedentary lifestyle. Because, diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, one cannot begin to discuss improving diabetes care and reducing heart disease without emphasizing the importance of healthy lifestyle choices and physical activity.
Although nutritional and dietary requirements vary between individuals, mindful eating of foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories seems like a good step in the right direction. Many vegetables top that list and you could, therefore, start by incorporating them into your meals and substituting them for your snacks. When eaten in moderation, high-fiber fruits with low glycemic index and glycemic load have been reported to cause less of a rapid spike in blood sugars. Examples include apples, cherries, and the -berries family of fruits. When selecting carbohydrates, avoid the refined/processed (white) ones and juices loaded with simple sugars. If you like to include meat in your diet, do so in judicious moderation and aim for lean cuts with low saturated fats.
To complement your healthy eating choices, if you had dropped the ball on exercise, pick it up, safely bounce it around, and set realistic goals. Exercise improves your circulation and overall wellbeing and promotes weight loss, which is an essential goal in managing diabetes for those who feel they are overweight or obese. Also, as you exercise, your body becomes more efficient at utilizing the sugars and you may, therefore, need lower doses or fewer numbers of diabetes medications.
While some individuals enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner, try
to avoid the trouble of too much bubble as excessive alcohol intake can
negatively impact your heart, diabetes, and general health. Also, tobacco
adds gas to the fire, damages you blood vessels,
and compromises blood circulation to every organ in your body. Therefore, if you smoke, it is imperative that you devise a plan and a date to quit smoking.
To ensure a comprehensive management plan for your diabetes and heart condition, your doctor may prescribe medications to help keep your blood sugars in goal and achieve better blood pressure control and cholesterol levels.
As you incorporate healthier lifestyle choices, make sure you discuss your plans with your physician(s) and nutritionist/dietician. Some “healthy” types of food can interact with certain medications, especially heart and blood thinner meds. When you are ready to start an exercise program, do so as tolerated by your health condition and after discussing your exercise plans with your physician who could guide you and modify your diabetes medications, if necessary.
Although the earlier you adopt these strategies the better, it is never too late to turn the tide around and incorporate positive steps in the right direction. Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists (PBDES) are proud to be an American Diabetes Association center of Recognition, with the only office-based Certified Diabetes Education program in South Florida. Our team of endocrinologists, dieticians, diabetes educators, and a weight loss coach work together to develop individualized strategies to help you reach your goals.
Many people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes are able to control blood sugars successfully with changing their lifestyle, making healthier food choices and increasing physical activity. However, sometimes medications are needed. Because there are many conditions associated with diabetes, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, nerve disease, kidney disease and eye disease, people with diabetes may have to take several medications in order to avoid these complications.
It’s important to remember safety tips to avoid medication interactions as well such as taking too much medication, too little medication or accidently taking the wrong medication at the wrong time.
Tips for Managing Your Medications Safely
At Healthy Living with Diabetes we want to ensure that you are satisfied with all services received. We also would like your input on educational workshops that you would like us to offer, information you would like to read about in our Healthy Living with Diabetes Monthly or feedback on any workshop that you may have attended.
You can contact the director of education personally by email: jcook@PBDES.COM or leave a message at (561) 513-5100. We would love to hear from you!