Heart Disease Risk Factors & Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus increases risk for heart disease. Heart disease is a disorder in which arteries become clogged and ultimately, blocked with plaque deposits causing a lack of blood flow to the heart.
The American Heart Association has identified 6 major risk factors for heart disease that can be treated or controlled by lifestyle changes and/or medications.
The 6 Risk Factors for Heart Disease
To Reduce Your Risk
- obesity - a body weight 20% over the ideal body weight for height
- physical inactivity - lack of exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise increases risk
- smoking - this is due to the stimulant (nicotine) that increases heart rate and the carbon monoxide breathed in
- elevated blood cholesterol - a total cholesterol of 240 mg/dl increases risk as well as a LDL-cholesterol over 130 mg/dl and/or a HDL-cholesterol under 40 mg/dl
- elevated blood pressure - increased blood pressure equates to increased force for blood to move though the body (this means extra work for your body)
- diabetes - having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease
The good news is that people can take control of their diabetes by eating right, exercising on a regular basis, and testing blood sugar.
Christine Carlson, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE
- Maintain a healthy body weight - a reduction of 5-10% of total body weight can be beneficial.
- Exercise - incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week, every week.
- Don't smoke!
- Control blood sugar - talk with your doctor or diabetes educator about blood sugar goals.
- Follow a low fat diet - consume <30% calories from fat, <10% calories from saturated fat, & <300 mg. dietary cholesterol.
- Limit processed and high sodium foods - consume <2400 mg. sodium each day.
- Eat seafood twice a week - research is finding seafood has protective benefits against heart disease. Prepare seafood by baking, grilling or poaching instead of frying (frying adds fat).
- Focus on whole grains, vegetables, & fruits. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
GlucoMenu® Nutrition Director