1. Controlling blood sugar levels:
High blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves that affect the heart and other organs. Keeping blood sugar within the target range can help prevent or reduce the complications of diabetes. People with diabetes should check their blood sugar regularly and follow their doctor’s advice on medication, diet, and exercise.
2. Managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels:
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can also damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of CVD. People with diabetes should monitor their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and take medications if prescribed by their doctor. They should also limit the amount of salt, saturated fat, and trans fat that go into their bodies and eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
3. Quit smoking:
Smoking is a major risk factor for CVD, especially for people with diabetes. Smoking can damage the lining of the blood vessels, increase blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce the oxygen supply to the heart. Just by changing this one habit can lower the risk of CVD and improve overall health.
4. Get active:
Physical activity can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, as well as improve heart function and circulation. It can also help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and enhance ones mood. People with diabetes should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. They should also do some strength training exercises at least twice a week, such as lifting weights or doing resistance bands.
5. Manage stress:
Stress can raise blood sugar, blood pressure, and heart rate, as well as trigger unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, overeating, or drinking alcohol. Stress can also affect mental health and well-being. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress, by meditating, yoga, breathing exercises, hobbies, or even just talking to someone they trust can make such a difference.
6. Get professionally monitored:
People with diabetes should go at least once a year for a comprehensive check-up that includes blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney function, eye exam, foot exam, and dental exam. They should also follow their doctor’s recommendations for screening tests and vaccinations. Any symptoms or concerns should be reported to their doctor as soon as possible.