People with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to die of heart disease than people without diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes have a tendency to be diagnosed with heart disease at a younger age than those without diabetes.
The concern grows as we age. Sixty-eight percent or more of people aged 65 or older that have diabetes die from heart disease, and 16% die of stroke.
A high-sugar diet can decrease HDL cholesterol (your good cholesterol) and increase triglycerides. In turn, high cholesterol and blood pressure effect your arteries by plaque buildup causing your arteries to harden over time.
Type 2 diabetes is a systemic issue. It is a part of metabolic syndrome which is a cluster of conditions. In the U.S., approximately one-third of adults have metabolic syndrome.
How do I know if I have metabolic syndrome?
Having three or more of the following conditions is metabolic syndrome.
• High glucose levels
• High blood pressure
• Abnormal cholesterol levels (high LDL/low HDL)
• High triglycerides
• Excess body fat around the waist
How did I get metabolic syndrome?
Over the years, we turned to convenience foods; foods that are highly processed. Tasty, but unhealthy beverages have also emerged as a norm in the American diet and should be considered as a “processed” product.
The addition of super-sized meals is marketed as a better buy and tend to lead to over consumption. They contain empty calories which create cravings and hunger causing the need for frequent snacking and larger meals.
Frequent dining out minimizes the control of how your food is prepared and the quality of ingredients used. Dining out can tempt you to change your mind to order a meal you want versus what you should have.
Busy lifestyles, a lack of a work-life balance, put people in the path for continued high stress. High stress and poor nutrition can lead to poor sleeping habits that can contribute to higher glucose levels.
A sedentary lifestyle at work and home contributes to the risk of diabetes and heart disease. All of these add to unhealthy weight gain, especially body fat around the waist.
Genetics can play a small part in the development of type 2 diabetes. Multiple family members with this diagnosis can increase one’s risk. Consider that similar lifestyles within families a factor in the increased risk as opposed to only genetics.
What can I do?
The following points will help you to get started in improving your health:
• Reduce glucose levels by consuming whole fresh foods at home and dining out. Begin with foods you like.
• Reduce and eliminate after dinner snacking.
• Drink plenty of water. Avoid high calorie and sugary beverages.
• Exercise regularly. If you dislike exercise, try walking for 20-30 minutes after a meal.
• Get plenty of rest. Turn off your phone, iPad and other electronics. Move your bedtime 30 minutes earlier. Breathe slow and deep to relax.
• Know your glucose levels.
• Learn about various lab testing to help keep you moving forward and understand what your results mean to you.
• If family members are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, evaluate their lifestyle and yours….
The lifestyle that brings on diabetes and heart disease can be improved, and the unhealthy effects can be reversed. Holistic lifestyle changes play an important role in the choices you make.
The term “holistic” indicates we look at more than diet and exercise to successfully make long-term improvements; we look at your overall lifestyle which has a direct correlation to your health. Depression can take hold when multiple medications and insulin are prescribed, diet and exercise efforts become overwhelming, progress has stopped, and you revert back to the food and lifestyle that brought on high glucose levels.
Holistic lifestyle coaching addresses the root cause. Keep practices that are good and healthy and adjust those that impede your progress. The key is to be armed with the tools to keep you healthy and moving forward long-term.