Diabetes Risk Factors
According to the Cleveland Clinic, diabetes can increase your risk for many serious health problems. Being aware of the risks and making lifestyle changes can help prevent or delay these health problems.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), having diabetes means that you are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of a heart attack or a stroke. People with diabetes are also more likely to have certain conditions, or risk factors, that increase the chances of having heart disease or stroke, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
The NIH says, “Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels.” The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease.
What else increases my chances of heart disease or stroke if I have diabetes? According to the NIH:
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Obesity and belly fat
- Family history of heart disease
How can I lower my chances of a heart attack or stroke if I have diabetes?
Manage your diabetes ABC’s
- A is for the A1C test.
- B is for blood pressure.
- C is for cholesterol.
- S is for stop smoking.
Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits.
- Follow a healthy eating plan.
- Maintain or get to a healthy weight.
- Be physically active at least 30 minutes a day.
- Get enough sleep
Managing diabetes is not always easy according to the NIH. Feeling stressed, sad, or angry is common when you are living with diabetes.
Ask your doctor for medications to help protect your heart.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes can affect both your physical and mental health. A diagnosis of diabetes certainly adds a huge emotional weight, which can often manifest as depression, anxiety or some other emotional issue. The same goes for the stress of managing diabetes 24/7.
The ADA says these are the most common mental problems diabetics face:
- Diabetes Distress
People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place, according to the ADA. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.
What can I do?
According to the ADA, good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems. People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease more often and more severely than people whose diabetes is well controlled. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.