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How Are Diabetes and Heart Disease Connected?

More than 30.3 million Americans are living with diabetes. Since diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, this puts a large group of people at a higher risk.

With February being recognized as American Heart Month, our team at AFC Urgent Care Bronx Webster Ave. wants to share some insight into how diabetes increase your risk and what you can do to keep your heart healthy if you have diabetes.

Does Diabetes Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease?

Yes—as we mentioned quickly above, diabetes is a known risk factor for heart disease. That's because, over time, exposing your body to higher levels of blood glucose can damage the blood vessels and nerves.

As the blood vessels stiffen and harden, fatty material can build up inside of them, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Excessive and unexplained sweating
  • Pain in the shoulders, jaw and left arm
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Nausea

How Can Someone Living With Diabetes Keep the Heart Healthy?

If you have diabetes, the best thing you can do to protect your heart is to work to ensure your blood sugar remains within the target zone identified by your doctor. While we say that diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, uncontrolled diabetes is the bigger risk factor.

Work with your doctor to identify a treatment plan that will be best for your individual needs and goals. This will likely include medication, but you'll also need to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Healthy Diet Tips

  • Consume more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Eat whole grains rather than refined carbs.
  • Enjoy legumes and beans on a regular basis.
  • Choose nuts and seeds for a healthy snack when hungry in between meals.
  • Select lean protein options—and bake, broil or grill them rather than frying.
  • Limit your intake of added sugar and excess sodium.

When was the last time you had your blood glucose levels checked? Visit AFC Urgent Care Bronx Webster Ave. today for a wellness check!