It seems that diabetes and heart disease are two separate health issues for women to concern themselves with, but did you know they are very much linked to one another?
According to US News, nearly double the number of women die from diabetes than men. Women with diabetes have a 5 times higher risk of developing heart failure than women who do not have diabetes.
Here are a few myths about diabetes.
- You don’t have to be overweight to have insulin issues. Even slim women can be at risk…skinny fat people can sometimes have the worse situation with sugar and insulin levels
- Type 2 diabetes is not a disease of bad genetics. It’s a disease of poor lifestyle choices and in most cases, can be reversed.
- There are milder forms of diabetes…this is completely untrue. Even insulin resistance should be taken seriously. There are no ‘mild’ forms of the disease.
- Diabetes doesn’t run in your family so you don’t have to worry about it. Again, most of type 2 diabetes is centered on lifestyle choices more than genetics.
- Insulin cures diabetes. The only cure for diabetes is changing your lifestyle, managing diet and increasing exercise.
- Insulin pills can be used instead of shots. So called insulin pills help the body produce more of its own insulin and produce less blood sugar from the liver. Insulin is a protein and not digestible through the stomach, true insulin must be administered through a sub-cutaneous pump or injections.
So, what is diabetes and how can you prevent it.
When we eat, sugars in our blood increase and our body signals the pancreas to crank out some insulin in order to deal with the increase in glucose. Insulin, a protein, takes care of the extra sugar and everything returns to normal.
If we constantly feed our body sugar, and refined carbohydrates, the sugar in our blood is constantly high. These high levels of sugar creates stress on our cells and they begin to block the sugar from getting in. The pancreas calls for more and more insulin to deal with the building supply of sugar and cells avoid the insulin as well. It becomes a vicious circle you can no longer control.
High amounts of insulin creates serious side effects.
- Increases sodium
- Stiffens arteries
- Depletes potassium stores
- Constricts our veins and arteries
- Increases belly fat
Does any of this ring a bell when it comes to heart disease? These are the same symptoms you will find in those with high blood pressure or hypertension and heart disease.
How do you begin to fix insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes?
Start with your diet.
- Consume more dark, leafy greens; 7-10 cups per day.
- Make sure you are getting enough potassium in your diet.
- Limit sodium intake- too much sodium means you will have low potassium. Ideally, these two work together and must be balanced.
- Cut out sugar and refined carbs and watch for hidden sugars…like all the ketchup you slather on the cheese burger.
- Get up and move. Even walking around the block every day will be a great start to a healthier you.
- Don’t eat 6 or 7 small meals. Remember, every time you eat, you spike your insulin. The more you can keep your insulin at a steady, set point level, the healthier you will be.
Balanced nutrition is key to eliminating both diabetes and heart disease. If you need help on where to start to heal yourself, come on in to Madison Women’s Clinic and meet with one of our health providers. We will start you off on the right foot!