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Heart Health Affected by Genetic Risk for Diabetes

Ava Lawson | October 27th, 2012

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According to the American Diabetic Association (ADA), heart disease claims the lives of two-thirds of all Type II diabetics age 65 and over. And as recent studies demonstrate, individuals with a family history of the disease may have a higher risk for heart damage compared to diabetics without this genetic predisposition.  Many who are newly diagnosed must consider a diabetes diet to help control blood glucose levels and lose weight.

These new findings, which were published in Diabetic Care, are especially disturbing since adults with Type II diabetes are twice as likely to get heart disease as people without the condition. Hundreds of individuals are newly diagnosed each month, and those who have diabetes are effectively managing and even reversing the disease by losing weight through physician-directed programs, such as those offered at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, which have produced thousands of weight loss success stories.

As Dr. Kaplan, founder of the Center explains, “When patients lose 5-10 % of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

High Blood Sugar Levels Can Impede Heart Function

In patients with diabetes, elevated blood glucose levels can narrow and thicken blood vessels making it more difficult for blood to flow freely, resulting in more stress on the heart. Harvard researchers produced a genetic predisposition score by analyzing genes, and revealed that for every additional diabetes-risk gene, a patient’s risk of developing heart disease increased by 3%.

Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to manage diabetes is by emphasizing weight loss through a diabetic or pre diabetes diet that facilitates optimum heart health while keeping blood sugar levels in check. The Center for Medical Weight Loss offers patients one of the safest and most effective means to manage diabetes through weight loss, while monitoring and adjusting any medications as necessary.

Help Your Heart with a Balanced Diabetes Diet

In addition to a balanced diet and moderate daily exercise, individuals can try the following strategies to protect the long-term health of their heart: 

  • Manage your blood glucose levels: Avoid diabetes-related heart disease by following strict diabetic diet guidelines that keep blood sugar levels under control.
  • Keep cholesterol in check: Controlling unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels are especially crucial in diabetic patients. Follow a low cholesterol diet as directed by your doctor.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking is a serious risk factor and can damage your heart by further narrowing arteries that have already been constricted by diabetes. 

Take Control with a Physician-Guided Weight Loss Program

Physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss work with each patient to tailor a diabetes diet (or pre diabetes diet) and exercise program that is customized to each person’s goals and medical needs. The doctors provide simple diabetic diet guidelines, and offer carefully considered exercise programs that match individual lifestyles and weight loss goals.

The center is a leader in the fight for reversing diabetes through healthy weight loss and exercise, and operates more than 450 centers across the country. To locate the center nearest you, simply enter your zip code in the box above. Special offers are available at select locations throughout the country.