Death from preventable diseases is becoming all too common in our current society, and heart disease and diabetes are among the leaders. As we age, taking better care of our health becomes increasingly more important that we commit to a consistent lifestyle change and improvon on acquiring nutritional knowledge and practices in order to obtain a better quality of life. Thus, it’s vital that we are aware of and understand the harmful health conditions that have reduced the quality of life of so many of our fellow citizens. Informing ourselves of these harmful realities can be the difference between enjoying our “prime-time” years and struggling with our health as we age.
The Facts About Diabetes and Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States accounting for approximately 700,000 deaths yearly. In South Africa we are actually not far off either. Particularly in adults over the age of 35, this condition’s affliction asserts itself which is some of the best years of adulthood for some people. Heart disease is defined by the Mayo Clinic as one of the various diseases that affect the heart through narrowing the coronary arteries and/or blockage of blood vessels that restrict proper blood flow to the heart, as well as, infections to the heart’s muscles to name a few heart abnormalities.
Diabetes troubles over 25 million people nationwide. Unfortunately, its increasingly alarming rates has grown to unhealthy proportions for adults over the age of 35. Diabetes is defined by the National Institutes of Health as a chronic disease in which there is a high level of sugar in the bloodstream. Since so many Americans are plagued with these health problems, it is imperative that we understand what they are and how to prevent them from harming our health.
Relationship Between Diabetes and Heart Disease
It’s significant that we understand the relationship between blood sugar and insulin in relating to illnesses associated with aging. Whenever we eat, our bodies’ cells are energized from the carbohydrates in the foods that we consume. These carbohydrates enter the bloodstream and elevate our blood glucose levels. In a healthy body, the pancreas releases insulin. Insulin’s main job is to keep our blood sugar at an optimal level while regulating our body’s ever-changing energy needs. Insulin, then, escorts our blood sugar into the cell for energy. However, if we eat too many foods with too many carbohydrates, then our bodies will have too much insulin that won’t be able to fit into our cells, and the remaining carbohydrates will have to go elsewhere, which is usually the belly and the liver.
If this event occurs on a regular basis, then type II diabetes could result, and if it chronically occurs, then it could lead to the pancreas wearing out, and type I diabetes will be the outcome.
Diabetes and heart disease are related for many reasons. Dr. William Sears says, “The incidence of just about every age-related illness (including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis) goes up as your blood sugar rises.” As explained above, excess sugar that can’t fit in the cell has to go elsewhere, and when it does, it accumulates in the bloodstream, tissues and organs of the body where it isn’t needed. As a result, inflammation, oxidation and glycation damage the blood vessels, tissues and organs of the body. Elevated blood sugar levels cause type I and type II diabetes and heart disease, along with heart attacks.
Consequently, having high amounts of sugar in the bloodstream develops into fat that clogs the blood vessels, narrows them, inflames them, and causes them to wear and tear. Therefore, the high volume of insulin causes the kidneys to retain sodium, which leads to high blood pressure, and the beginning of disease in the heart.
Our lives, as we age, can be one lived “prime-time” if we understand the health precautions of diabetes and heart disease; choosing to change our diets to healthier ones, today. It’s important to realise that simply avoiding the foods that contribute to diabetes and heart disease in the lives of older Americans could drastically reduce the number of people stricken by diabetes and heart disease; two very preventable diseases. Wild salmon, organic avocados, organic pomegranates, extra virgin olive oil, organic onions, organic peppers, raw almonds, flax seeds and unsweetened plain Greek yogurt are all examples of some of the wonderful foods to enhance your heart and blood sugar health along with a constant lifestyle of daily exercise.
So, be encouraged and not scared of diabetes and heart disease! Take charge of your own health by consuming the healthiest foods so that you can enjoy the rest of your life.