Diabetes and Heart Failure

According to the American Heart Association (www.heart.org), “People who have Type 2 diabetes, characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, are two to four times more likely to develop heart failure than someone without diabetes”. Furthermore, it is believed that the chronic medical condition known as heart failure may also be a risk factor for diabetes. Medical care must focus on both conditions simultaneously to maximize the overall quality of health while lowering risk factors and long-term complications.

Type 2 diabetes is currently considered a global epidemic. In the United States alone an estimated 30 million people had diabetes as of 2015. By the year 2035, diabetes is expected to affect over 592 million people worldwide. Conversely, Heart failure (HF) is a global pandemic affecting at least 26 million people worldwide and is increasing in prevalence. Heart failure is a chronic medical condition in which the heart is unable to consistently pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands for blood and oxygen. Both conditions cause elevated levels of inflammation and insulin resistance, which lead to poorer health outcomes and increased hospitalizations.

Risk factors that affect both diabetes and heart disease include the following:

Smoking

Overweight/ obesity

Lack of physical activity/ sedentary lifestyle

Diet containing high levels of trans fat/ cholesterol/ sodium/calories

Lifestyle changes; however, can lower your risk for both diabetes and heart failure. The following list contains suggested lifestyle changes; please discuss these recommendations with your medical health care team for specific guidance:

Follow a healthy diet, with a focus on fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.

Eat less processed foods, avoid trans fats, and lower sodium intake when possible.

Read food labels, and become familiar with calories and serving size.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Work with your medical provider to establish a weight loss realistic goal if need be.

Become more physically active.

Find activities you enjoy; encourage family participation.

Get feedback from your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Aim for a goal of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity.

Monitor your blood sugars, blood pressures and cholesterol levels with your doctor.

Additional medications may be ordered to get these blood levels in target range.

Persons with diabetes, heart failure or a combination of both conditions can life a healthy, fulfilling life. Knowledge is power.

Take the first step by checking out the following references:

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.31137

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-and-heart html

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/06/06/diabetes-and-heart-failure-are-linked-treatment-should-be-too

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5494150/#:~:text=Heart%20failure%20(HF)%20is%20a,dramatically%20with%20an%20ageing%20population.

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