Diabetes and Vascular diseases

The number of people with diabetes mellitus is alarmingly increasing due to the growing prevalence of obesity, genetic susceptibility, urbanization, and ageing.One of the long term complication of diabetes is the injury to the arteries or vessels involving major organs in the body.It involves blockage of arteries of neck,arms,legs,feet,heart,brain and eyes and leads to complications like heart attack,stroke,diabetic foot and other vascular complications.

A conscious effort now can avoid any such complications which can occur in long run,as these are very well preventable and an awareness about it can help in improving quality of life and longevity.

How does  diabetes affect the arteries or vessels?

Increased or uncontrolled blood sugar by complex mechanisms lead to build up of fatty deposits in the inner linings of the artery walls of the organs like legs, heart and brain, making them narrower,hindering blood flow and can even stop blood flow to the organ  completely.

This condition can lead to stroke,heart attacks, pain especially when walking, as well as a number of other symptoms like foot wounds that are slow to heal(Diabetic foot ulcers), one foot being much colder than the other, or gangrene. In severe cases, foot or leg amputation may be needed.

What are the risks factors?

Individuals with diabetes are already at an increased risk for arterial/vascular complications. Following risk factors further increase the risks.

  • Overweight/Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Family history of cardiovascular disease, stroke or vascular disease
  • Previous history of coronary artery disease (heart attack, angina, angioplasty or bypass surgery) or stroke

You can’t change your age or your family history, but taking care of your diabetes and the conditions that come with it can definitely lower your chances of developing these vascular complications.

Discuss with your doctor if you feel you have any of such complications or have these added risk factors.

How to prevent vascular complications?

A number of the risk factors mentioned here can be controlled to minimize the likelihood of developing vascular complications and to slow its progression. For people with diabetes, it’s especially important to keep blood glucose levels as normal as possible. Also, regular physical activity is important, and and medications need to be taken regularly.

Taking steps to reduce the risk of vascular diseases also helps reduce the chances of a heart attack, stroke or foot ulcers while enhancing quality of life.

Therefore you may wish to do the following:

  • Keep active
  • Eat a healthy diet and control your blood sugar levels
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • If you smoke, make an effort to quit
  • Keep an eye on your blood pressure
  • Be aware of any new conditions or changes in your body
  • Have regular medical examinations, at least once a year
  • Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor

Despite how prevalent diabetes is, it is an invisible disease – and it affects women and men, young and old, people of all races, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, those with diabetes are also at risk for other health concerns, including vascular diseases. Prevention is the key to avoid these complications as age advances.
-Dr Prerna Gaur

Acknowledgements

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743069/

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/peripheral-vascular-disease#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetic-foot-pain-and-ulcers-causes-treatments

 

Importance of checking blood pressure and managing it in Diabetics

When you were diagnosed with diabetes it is common for you to check your blood glucose regularly, but have you heard about checking blood pressure regularly is as important as checking blood glucose levels. Yes, it is very important in preventing long term complications of diabetes.

High blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure in people with diabetes.

Blood pressure is very dynamic, meaning that it can change instantaneously in response to the internal or external environment. For example, if you have an injury that causes severe bleeding, your blood pressure drops rapidly. But your body also responds to that drop within seconds by squeezing and narrowing the blood vessels and increasing heart activity to bring the pressure back up. Even if you are nervous at the time of your doctor’s visit, your blood pressure will be high and this will mislead. So, regular monitoring of your blood pressure at your home can avoid such problems and this will also alert you to be healthy.

How to check blood pressure at home:

When your blood pressure is measured, your arm should be at the level of your heart, and the blood pressure cuff should be sized appropriately for your arm. If the cuff just barely fits around your arm or pops off once it is in place, it may be too small, and you are likely to get a falsely elevated reading. A good time to monitor at home is in the morning before you take any medicines. Early morning is when blood pressure tends to be highest and when the effects of some drugs are wearing off. It is also the highest risk period for stroke and heart attack.

Management:

  1. Lifestyle modifications plays a significant role in the management of blood pressure and diabetes.
  2. Performing regular exercise, losing excess weight and keeping it off, and getting adequate sleep are a start.
  3. If you are excess in weight then you must be more concerned about weight loss. A sensible reduction in calorie intake along with a regular exercise program is the best way to gradually reduce your weight. Moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking is felt to be safer than very vigorous exercise.
  4. Reducing salt intake is also helpful.
  5. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as they will lead to so many other health issues which are not good for you
  6. Scientific studies using multiple home readings have found that home blood pressure readings predict cardiovascular risk better than medical office readings.
  7. In people with diabetes diagnosed with high blood pressure, drug therapy is initiated along with lifestyle changes.
  8. It can take several weeks to several months to find the right dose of a drug or combination of drugs along with lifestyle changes to achieve consistent blood pressure measurements below 140/90 mm Hg.

References:

https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/complications-prevention/home-blood-pressure-monitoring/

https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/high-blood-pressure

– Dr.Y.Alekhya.

WOMEN AND DIABETES -WORLD DIABETES DAY 2017

Globally, 2.1 million women die due to diabetes as opposed to 1.8 million men and diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death among women. Diabetes increases risk of heart disease by six times and reduces life span by 8 years as compared to women without diabetes.

In India, prevalence of the disease is 17.7% among urban middle class women while it is 10% in rural areas. Higher body fat percentage and abnormal lipid profile has been attributed as the major factors responsible for increased prevalence of diabetes among women in the developed and developing countries Continue reading “WOMEN AND DIABETES -WORLD DIABETES DAY 2017”

Ways to incorporate whole grain in daily diet!

grain-structureOften selection of the daily staples is based on family traditions or cultural influences. Despite being the major component of our diet, we do not put enough time and effort in making a conscious choice of cereal or grains.

Whole grain are seeds of the grasses cultivated for food. They need to be processed to convert them into edible form but the level of processing Continue reading “Ways to incorporate whole grain in daily diet!”

Can diabetics have Raisins?

Raisins and diabetes

 

Dried fruits often help as a great snacking option to satisfy  hunger pangs between meals. But within this category, only almonds and walnuts are considered healthy by many. If you tell an obese or diabetic that even dates and raisins can be consumed , they are shocked!

Ask a diabetic whether they eat raisins, they will quickly say- No, how can we; it is so sweet. Ask them if they consume white bread, they will say- yes , I do have it atleast 2-3 times/ week. Continue reading “Can diabetics have Raisins?”

Use of Insulin to control Diabetes

Use of insulin for diabetes

If your doctor has recently recommended using injected insulin to control your type 2 daibetes it can be intimidating! Imagining taking a injection or giving yourself a shot everyday is not a pleasant thought. However, you need to understand that insulin is your health giving substance that enables you to live a normal life and avoid serious duabetes related complications. Over a period of time, you will get used to taking the insulin shot and it will come as second nature to you. Continue reading “Use of Insulin to control Diabetes”