Diabetes is a very complicated medical condition that affects every single organ system in the body. Diabetes is estimated to have resulted in 1.5-4.9 million deaths each year from 2012-2014. Dr. Jacqueline Eubany – board certified cardiologist, electrophysiologist, and author of ‘Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story”, discusses how diabetes is connected to heart health on Big Blend Radio.
I have summarized 5 things you need to know about diabetes that I hope can help you understand it better:
1) It is hereditary.
Just because you inherit the gene does not mean you will have symptoms and complications associated with diabetes. If you have the gene for diabetes, and you live a healthy lifestyle by eating a heart healthy diet, exercising on a regular base, maintaining a healthy weight, and by not smoking, you may not necessarily have all the symptoms and end organ damage associated with diabetes. As a matter of fact, you may not even require treatment with medications because of your healthy lifestyle. I therefore encourage healthy living for a greater quality of life.
2) Diabetes has less to do with the amount of “sugar” you consume as it does with the body’s ability to utilize the “sugar” efficiently.
Glucose is the main source of energy utilized by the organs of the body. The biggest user of glucose in the body is the brain. The brain needs glucose to perform its many complex functions that allows you to live a normal life. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, an organ near the stomach that allows glucose to be transported from the blood into cells to be used as energy. People with diabetes either lack insulin, or are insensitive to insulin and therefore cannot extract glucose from the blood into different organs.
3) Women who have diabetes and then have a heart attack have a higher death rate than men.
Women with diabetes die more frequently from a heart attack than men with diabetes. If these women survive the event, they have a poorer quality of life than their male counterparts. The rate of death of women with diabetes between the ages of 25 and 44 year is more than three times the rate of death in women without diabetes.
4) If you have gestational diabetes, or diabetes while pregnant, you have a 5-10% chance of developing diabetes in the future.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include obesity prior to pregnancy, a diagnosis of prediabetes before pregnancy, giving birth to a baby that weighs more than 9 pounds, or giving birth to a stillborn.
5) Having diabetes is considered a heart disease equivalent.
If you are diabetic, your risk for having a heart attack is about the same as a person who has already had a heart attack! Diabetes, therefore increases your risk for heart disease.
Diabetes remains a big risk factor for heart disease. By choosing to live a healthy lifestyle you can prevent this deadly disease from crippling your life. Here is to living a heart healthy life!
Dr. Jacqueline Eubany is a board certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist based out of Orange County, California. She is the author of ‘Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story’, and a Big Blend Radio expert contributor. Learn more at www.WomenandHeartDiseaseBook.com.