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.
"I knew I didn't eat a totally healthy diet because bread is a big weakness of mine. Worse, exercise was something I kept planning to do but hadn't gotten around to," recalls 62-year-old Laura M., who lives in a New York City suburb. "I had been feeling more tired than usual and had a cut on my right leg that seemed to be healing slowly, but other than that I felt fine. When during the course of an annual check-up, my doctor said I had diabetes, I practically fell apart."
Editor' Note: This article continues Katherine Marple's series on pregnancy with diabetes as a complicating factor. For previous articles, enter her name in the search feature at the top right-hand of this website. The next installment, "Birthing Options," will appear on December 30.
Need to take control of your diabetes and your health? Going to the doctor frequently might be just what the doctor ordered, according to a study from Brigham and Women's Hospital published last month.
The researchers looked at how long it took type 2 patients to reach their goals in three areas: A1C levels, blood pressure, and LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Those who interacted with doctors frequently -- every week to two weeks -- achieved their goals far more quickly than those who interacted with doctors every three to six months.
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