While new cases of type 2 diabetes are rising rapidly, recent research shows that complications from the disease are on the decline. Research compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over a 20-year period, rates of the five major complications associated with diabetes - heart attack, stroke, end-stage kidney failure, lower limb amputation and deaths from hyperglycemia - all saw drastic declines.
Here is a statistic to warm the heart-literally: The death rate from heart disease and stroke among American adults with diabetes dropped 40 percent from 1997 to 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The overall mortality rate among people with diabetes dropped 23 percent.
After my recent heart attack, it got harder to keep my diabetes under control. No matter how hard I try, I'm always struggling with my sugar levels these days. Checking them at every meal and at bedtime is a job, but it keeps me healthy and alive. So many people I know have died from diabetes, in part because they failed to do the daily maintenance that came with controlling their condition.
When I was told that I have coronary artery disease, I was baffled. After all, I am only 36, and CAD is a condition of the elderly, or so I thought. The heart specialist, however, let me know that anyone may be susceptible to the condition. Coronary artery disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels increase the risk of heart attack because the sugar in the blood damages blood vessels throughout the body, including the heart.
Do you struggle with controlling your sugar levels during exercise? When my doctor changed my exercise regimen after my heart attack, my biggest struggle was keeping my sugar levels stable. We all like to see low numbers, but no one likes the shaking associated with low blood sugar or that feeling we have for the rest of the day after our levels have fluctuated. So how low is too low before working out?
As I was sitting in the hospital after a heart attack, my cardiologist walked in and said, "You have to stop eating meat." "Red meat?" I asked hopefully. "All meat," he replied firmly. It was disconcerting, to say the least, because meat has been in my life since I could feed myself. But my cardiologist explained, "If you don't want to end up back here again, you will start on an plant-based diet immediately." That day, I stopped eating meat. In fact, I asked the hospital food service to switch me to a vegetarian diet.
Like I did, you may take it for granted that you don't have to worry about having a heart attack. You may assume that heart attacks only happen to senior citizens. But I am living proof that there is no age limit to heart attack. At age 35, just three days after Christmas, it happened to me.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that starting on November 18, 2011, it will restrict retail pharmacy sales of three diabetes drugs manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline: the stand-alone Avandia (rosiglitazone) and the combination drugs Avandamet (rosiglitazone and metformin) and Avandaryl (rosiglitazone and glimepiride).
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