February is American Heart Month, a time to bring awareness for all people to focus on their cardiovascular health.
Heart disease in America is both prevalent and can be deadly. Statistics provided by the American Heart Association, show nearly half of all US adults have some type of cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, approximately 1 in every 5 deaths, or 697,000, was from heart disease.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Several others include diabetes, overweight and obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.
The CDC also states that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than someone without. This is primarily because high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves which can lead to a variety of problems.
The CDC recommends the following lifestyle changes to help lower the risk for heart disease, as well as help manage diabetes:
Follow a healthy whole foods diet: Avoid processed food, sugary drinks, and trans fats. Drink more water and less alcohol.
Aim for a healthy weight: Losing even a modest amount of weight (5% to 7%) can lower triglycerides and blood sugar.
Get Active: Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking.
Manage your ABCs:
A: Get a regular A1c test
B: Try to keep blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or the target set by a doctor)
C: Manage your cholesterol levels
s: Stop smoking or don’t start
Manage Stress: Try visiting a mental health counselor, meditation or deep breathing, or get support from friends and family.
It is important for people with diabetes to work closely with their healthcare provider to manage their condition and monitor their heart health. Regular check-ups, screenings, and tests can help identify potential problems early on and prevent or delay the development of heart disease.
Self-care platforms, such as Pops, can support people in their health journey. Users can receive virtual coaching for test reminders, help with setting goals, and learn about best practices for managing their condition. They can track their metabolic trends such as glucose, weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol which can be shared with their provider and loved ones.
Visit popdiabetes.com to learn more.