Friday, July 8, 2016

High Blood Sugar Is Breaking Your Heart!

Diabetes and Heart Disease

Heart Attack


I recently was doing some research on two of the top ten killers in America:  heart disease and diabetes, and I learned something pretty amazing, or at least it seemed so to me.  Let me explain and let's see what you think.    

I live in Florida and even if it is not officially the retirement capital of the world, most Americans know it is a very popular retirement destination. You don't have to drive our roads for too long before you see one of our seniors driving in the "fast" lane doing 35 in a 55 and a line of cars with very upset people in them. Mix a few of those with some former New Yorkers, a few million tourists, who normally drive on the other side of the road, and it makes for a very exciting place. That, however, is a whole different subject.  

We now return to our regularly scheduled program already in progress:

 I thought it would be interesting to look at some health statistics here and how they may relate to the chronic diseases that so many older Americans deal with, and unfortunately, die from.  You can look up the stats for your area if you like, but let's look at Florida just for the heck of it.  The leading cause of death in Florida and the United States is heart disease, so it is of utmost importance that we understand its’ underlying causes in order to seek to help ourselves and others avoid this killer.

According to the Florida Department of Health, in a 3 year rolling average, Lake County, FL, has a death rate from major cardiovascular disease of 346.4 per 100,000. Using the same parameters they record a 62.9 per 100,000 death rate from diabetes. Another very interesting statistic is the number of hospitalizations from these two categories:

· Congestive Heart Failure: 75.2 per 100,000

· From or with Diabetes: 2,648 per 100,000

The data here is really important, in that it shows not only the category with the highest death rate, it also shows how many more hospitalizations occur among those with diabetes. Unfortunately, one of the reasons hospitalizations from heart disease are lower is because the first indication that many have of heart disease is the heart attack that kills them.  Now that sucks!!  Moving on.

Now that we have seen a few statistics related to heart disease and diabetes in our area, let’s look specifically at diabetes and the relationship between blood sugar and insulin. All the carbohydrates that we eat are turned into glucose (sugar) by our body. The amount of sugar in our blood is monitored by the pancreas and it releases a hormone called insulin.


 It is insulin’s job to carry the sugar to our cells. Each cell has a special lock, so to speak, and insulin is the key that unlocks the door for the cell to take in the glucose/sugar so that the cell can use the sugar for energy. The more sugar in the blood, the more insulin the pancreas secretes and so on. If there is too much sugar over an extended period of time, not only can the pancreas wear out, causing insulin dependent diabetes, but prior to this the cells can become resistant to the insulin and not allow the sugar to enter. Insulin will then store the sugar for later use, often as fat. This is known as prediabetes or metabolic syndrome. This is the primary job of insulin, but insulin has many other jobs and is sometimes called the master hormone.

 This is without even discussing the role of oxidative stress in this whole process.

Having seen the statistics and having a better understanding of the relationship between blood sugar and insulin, let’s examine the likely relationship between diabetes and heart disease. One of the leading causes of heart disease is inflammation in the body and particularly in the lining of the blood vessels. 
 As William Sears, MD states in his book Prime Time Health,

 “The main hormone that determines whether your body is in anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory balance is insulin. A high level of insulin promotes a high inflammatory state…

There is our connection!  High insulin in the body not only promotes a diabetic state in the body, it also promotes a state of inflammation in the body, a leading contributor to coronary artery disease, better known as heart disease.


The good news is that just as diabetes and heart disease can have a causal relationship, the same things that you can do to prevent one also will help to prevent the other. You are not genetically cursed to suffer either of these diseases. Even if you are already dealing with one or both of these diseases, the same actions that will help others to better their chances of not getting them can greatly improve your outcomes in dealing with diabetes or heart disease. 

Pretty amazing!?  Don't you think?  Maybe you knew the connection between diabetes and heart disease, but I didn't realize they were so closely related.  Now we both know!  So!  What do we do with this information?  How can we apply this knowledge to improve mine and your health?  How do we keep our blood sugar stable and our insulin levels normal?  

Here are 6 actions you can take, starting today!
  1. Make your health your hobby.
  2. Start eating more REAL FOOD.  (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meats and fish, healthy fats.)
  3. Avoid added sugars, artificial colors and sweeteners, preservatives.  Click here for a convenient way to help you accomplish 2 and 3.  
  4. Exercise:  The best exercise is the one you will do, just do it for at least 20 min./ 6 days per week.
  5. Get on a high quality supplement regimen:  I take, recommend and market supplements by USANA Health Sciences.  I would start with a multivitamin/mineral supplement, fish oil and vitamin D
  6. Work with your doctor by getting proper diagnostic testing and consultation.
These are things you can do, right?  I know you can.  I hope you will.


It is my hope and prayer that you live long in happiness and health!
Sam Durrance, BA, Certified Health Coach
Sources:
William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN. (2010). Prime-Time Health:  A Scientifically Proven Plan for Feeling Young and Living Longer. New York, NY:  Little, Brown and Company. Hachette Book Group.
Florida Charts: Community Health Assessment Resource Tool Set.  www.floridacharts.com. Florida Department of Health: Division of Public Health Statistics & Performance Management.

Om P. Ganda, M.D., Director, Lipid Clinic, Joslin Diabetes Center  (2016).  Diabetes and Heart Disease:  An Intimate Connection.  http://www.joslin.org/info/diabetes_and_heart_disease_an_intimate_connection.html

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