Many people are unaware that there is a very strong link between heart disease and diabetes. The American Heart Association says that 68 percent of people with diabetes die from a heart related condition. In fact, if your parent has diabetes, they are two to four times more likely to die from a heart condition than those without diabetes. Increased awareness of the link between heart disease and diabetes could help you and your senior parent to take better care of their heart by taking care of their diabetes symptoms.
Diabetic Heart Disease.
Sometimes doctors refer to a heart condition that occurs in a diabetic patient as diabetic heart disease (DHD). The term covers a host of heart conditions that occur in people with diabetes, such as:
- Heart Failure: Heart failure is a condition in which the heart does not pump a sufficient amount of blood through the body. Heart failure can cause a person to feel tired and lacking energy.
- Coronary Heart Disease: Coronary heart disease (sometimes called coronary artery disease), happens when plaque builds up on the walls of coronary arteries. When this happens, the blood flow to the heart is restricted, resulting in chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, heart attack, or death.
- Diabetic Cardiomyopathy: Diabetic cardiomyopathy affects the structure of the heart and the way that it works, causing heart failure or an irregular heartbeat.
Reasons for Increased Risk.
Even when a person’s diabetic symptoms are kept under control, they are still at a higher risk for heart disease. This is because people with diabetes, especially type 2, often have some of these other conditions in addition to diabetes:
- Unhealthy Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels: People with diabetes often simultaneously have low good cholesterol, high bad cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. All of these things also occur in people with heart disease.
- Hypertension: Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for heart disease. There is also a link between insulin resistance and hypertension, and when a person has both, their risk for heart disease is doubled.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Many people with diabetes are not physically active, which is a risk factor for both diabetes and heart disease. Engaging in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise five times per week reduces the risk for both conditions.
- Obesity: There is strong evidence that suggests obesity can lead to insulin resistance. It is also one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease.
Senior Care Can Help Patients Reduce Risks.
Diabetes is a manageable condition and the risk factors for heart disease associated with diabetes are controllable. If your parent has diabetes, a senior care provider hired through an agency can help them to manage diabetes symptoms and reduce risks. A senior care provider can help your parent to control diabetes symptoms by reminding them to monitor their blood sugar levels and take medications their doctor has prescribed. They can help with the risk factors for heart disease by helping your parent to lead a healthier lifestyle. Senior care providers can cook healthy meals, which may be difficult for some seniors. They can also take walks with your parent to assist them with becoming more physically active, or drive them to senior fitness classes.
If you or someone you know needs senior care in Rochester, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.
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