Most people know that congestive heart failure is a serious and all too common problem in America. Just in case you are unsure and wondering what is congestive heart failure, it is basically a condition in which the heart grows weak over time, eventually leading to a buildup of fluids in the lungs.
While most people know that information, what many people do not know is that the risk of heart failure is greater for diabetics than it is for non-diabetics.
If your diabetes is not well-controlled and you regularly suffer from high blood sugar, this can cause damage to your blood vessels. This, in turn, can damage your heart.
Fortunately, if you control your diabetes and your blood sugar well and are vigilant about looking for the signs of heart failure, you can keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of heart problems.
Be Sure to See a Doctor Regularly
First things first, once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you need to make sure to see a doctor on a regular basis.
How regularly you will need to go in for checkups and testing will depend on the severity of your condition and other factors. However, you should always follow the visitation schedule suggested by your doctor.
Doctors who are familiar with diabetes can perform regular tests to monitor your heart health and your overall health. They can also help to catch potential problems early on and provide you with advice on how to mitigate such health concerns.
By skipping doctor visits, you run the risk of developing heart problems or other serious secondary conditions related to your diabetes that could be life threatening. Don’t take those kinds of chances with your health. Find a good doctor and follow his or her orders.
Educate Yourself on the Symptoms of Heart Problems
In addition to seeing your doctor on a regular basis, take care to educate yourself on congestive heart failure symptoms, as well as general symptoms of heart issues.
By knowing the warning signs, you could catch a problem that develops in between doctor’s visits. With heart problems, the sooner you become aware of them, the more likely it is you can get them under control before more serious health issues develop as a result.
Some signs to be on the lookout for include:
- Difficulty breathing, often accompanied by wheezing
- Unexplained nausea
- Dizzy spells
- Extreme, unexplained fatigue
- Developing a chronic cough
- A racing heart, often without warning/while at rest
- Changes in appetite
- Unexplained mental confusion
- Chest pain
If you experience any of these issues, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. It may be nothing, but it’s best not to take chances with your health and with your life.
Avoid Smoking and All Tobacco Products
In addition to following the advice given above, don’t start smoking. Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart. And, while it is bad for everyone, it is particularly bad for people who are already at a higher risk of heart disease due to diabetes.
If you are already a smoker, quit. It may be hard, but it’s a lot easier than suffering from heart disease.
Also, make sure you do not use any tobacco or smoking products. Vaping, for example, has become popular as of late, but there is not yet enough research on this activity to know if it is safe, and it’s best not to chance it.
Exercise on a Regular Basis
Something else that can really help you to improve your heart health is to get regular exercise.
While all types of exercise are beneficial, cardiovascular exercise, meaning exercise that gets your heart pumping, is especially important for diabetes sufferers.
Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, which can help those who are overweight to lose weight, which will in turn lower their risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, the heart is strengthened through regular exercise, offering it more protection against heart disease.
You don’t have to exercise a ton to get these benefits either. Thirty minutes of exercise five times a week is enough to experience significant benefits. Plus, exercise can be fun. Go for walks with friends, take a dance class, or go skating with your kids. Vary your exercise to keep it exciting.
As you can see, there are all kinds of things that you can do to help your heart and your overall health as well. Remember, diabetes and heart failure do not have to go together, not if you make every effort to stay strong and healthy and to keep your heart the same way.