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If you have diabetes, don't ignore your heart

September 22, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

With heart disease as the leading cause of death among adults in the United States, people with diabetes need to be especially good to their hearts and blood vessels because diabetes increases your risk for heart attack, stroke and complications related to poor circulation.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that some people with diabetes are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease than others, particularly those who have high cholesterol levels, have high blood pressure, smoke cigarettes or are obese.

The more of these factors you have, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease. While men with diabetes have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease than women, women with diabetes have a greater risk after menopause.

There are things you can do to take care of your heart and minimize your risk for cardiovascular disease. The ADA's Diabetes Forecast magazine recommends the following heart-healthy tips:

• Eat a low-fat diet -- high levels of blood fats can damage blood vessels. Your diet can help keep your weight within a healthy range.

• Exercise -- regular aerobic exercise such as walking or swimming uses your heart, lungs and large muscles and can improve your weight, blood, overall cardiovascular fitness and even your attitude.

• Keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible. High levels may damage large blood vessels over time.

• Keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure can be an early sign of blood vessel damage.

• Quit smoking -- smoking narrows blood vessels over time.

• See your doctor regularly -- your doctor can keep track of your blood glucose, cholesterol and pressure.

You may find that having diabetes motivates you to live a healthier lifestyle, but your whole family will benefit if you do your best to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

For your heart's sake, visit your doctor

Heart disease is easiest to treat when it's caught early, and that's why it's important to see your doctor regularly.

Your doctor can check things like blood pressure, blood fat levels and average blood glucose levels, as well as listen through a stethoscope for clues to your heart's health.

Concerned about your heart health? Quality cardiovascular care is right around the corner. Dr. Robert Schatz, F.A.C.C., a non-interventional cardiologist located in Siloam Springs, is now accepting new patients. He is a member of the medical staff at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital. To schedule an appointment, call 479-215-3060 today.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a 73 licensed bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission and was recognized as a four-star hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. With more than 50 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas. Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.

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