Posted by: wockhardthospitals | November 16, 2009

Diabetes and Heart Disease : Facts and Precautions.

India accounts for the largest number of diabetic patients in the world with approximately 56 million people affected and the number is set to grow to 900 million over the next 20 years i.e. 9% of the countries population. This disturbing trend has set alarm bells ringing as a large population of India still does not have access to basic health care needs. Unlike other diseases diabetics lasts for a lifetime leading to many other complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, damaged arteries to name a few. Studies have estimated that two out of three diabetic patients are likely to die of heart disease or stroke.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the human body fails to produce enough insulin or when there is disruption in the process of insulin circulation. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that enables cells to utilize glucose and convert it into energy. Most of the food we eat is converted into glucose (a from of sugar) and dispersed in the blood stream to be used as energy. In the absence of insulin the cells in the body are deprived of energy and begin to starve. Consequently glucose levels rise in the blood stream leading to several other disabilities.

High blood sugar over a period of time leads to damaged nerves and blood vessels. There is hardening of the blood vessels and increased deposit of cholesterol on their walls – a process termed as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can lead to narrowing of blood vessels with increased tendency of blood clot formation. The narrowing of blood vessels and the formation of blood clots are the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.

Facts:

* A Diabetic patent is twice as likely of having heart disease or stroke as compared to a normal person.
* Diabetic patent tend to develop heart disease and stroke at a younger age than people without diabetics.
* People with diabetics are more likely to have a second heart attack as compared to healthy people.
* Women with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke than men.
* Heart attacks in diabetic patents are generally more serious and complex and are more likely to be fatal.
* Diabetic patients are far more difficult to treat as high blood sugar levels slows down the natural healing process of the human body.

Precaution:

* Since diabetes is a chronic disease that can only be controlled, it is very important to stick to the advice given by the doctor and to take your daily dose of medication at the right times. Go for regular check ups and monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly.
* Stick to a healthy diet: plan your diet with your doctor and stick to it. Diabetics require a diet that provides the necessary calories, fiber and protein. Care should be taken to avoid the intake of sugar, saturated fats and food with high cholesterol.
* Regular Exercise: follow a program that optimizes your physical activity, follow exercise routines and walk at least 45 minutes a day (consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine)
* Quit smoking: it could be the worst thing for you

Diabetes is a disease that patients can learn to live with and still lead very productive lives. Regular health checkups, healthy diet, Exercise and medication can keep diabetes well under control. Advancements in medical science has thrown up a number of new drugs that are very effective, however a large part to controlling diabetes lies with the individual leading a healthy lifestyle.

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