Diabetes is a complex disorder with lots of complications. People with diabetes are at risk of hyperlipidemia, and because of this reason, they also have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes.

But a recent study carried out in a large study population has shown seven simple dietary habits can dramatically reduce the risk of people with diabetes developing heart attacks.​1​

These seven tips are something that most of us tend to ignore or take for granted,

The seven habits are called “Life’s Simple Seven.”

The research has shown that people who are diabetic, or pre-diabetic, and follow at least five out of the seven simple habits did not have any excess risk of heart attacks or strokes when compared with normal population.

Stop smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. Smoking can increase your chances of cardiovascular diseases. Not only that but also it increases the risk of certain types of lung carcinomas. 

Even if you stop smoking, it will take several years for the risks to come down to normal levels, so the earlier you quit smoking, the better.

Be active, exercise more

You should exercise at least 30 minutes a day

Exercising has lots of health benefits, it can reduce your weight, help to control your diabetes.

Doctors advise every adult to do moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or strenuous exercise, 15 minutes a day, five days a week.

Control your cholesterol

Keeping your cholesterol levels low is good for the heart

In today’s dietary habits, we tend to find lots of fat and cholesterol inside our food.

High amounts of cholesterols in the blood creates plaques in vessel walls, and block your arteries. If not controlled, it will lead to heart attacks due to the blockage of blood vessels in your heart and stokes.

Your aim should be keeping your blood cholesterol levels less than 200 mg/dl.

Control your blood sugar levels

Control your blood sugar levels

Keeping your blood sugar levels low is essential for preventing the complications of diabetes.

If you are pre-diabetic, you need to keep your HBA1C levels less than 5.7%, or if you have diabetes you need to keep the HBA1C level less than 6.5%.

Control your body weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight can help to control your insulin resistance, and it can help to control your diabetes.

It can also reduce your risk of developing a heart attack. So if you are Asian, you should target for a BMI of less than 23, or else you should keep the BMI less than 25.

Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for the heart

Fruits and vegetables have lots of health benefits, they have lots of anti-oxidants, they also have naturally occurring carbs, that won’t increase your blood sugar levels.

You should try to eat at least 4 cups of fruits per day. 

Control your blood pressure

High blood pressure can increase the risk of you developing heart attacks and strokes. 

Your ideal blood pressure should be around 120/80 mmHg. And if you have diabetes, it’s always better to check your blood pressure at least once a month.

So start following life’s simple seven to have a healthier life.

  1. 1.
    Wang T, Lu J, Su Q, et al. Ideal Cardiovascular Health Metrics and Major Cardiovascular Events in Patients With Prediabetes and Diabetes. JAMA Cardiol. July 2019. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2019.2499
Author Rukshan

Dr Rukshan Ranatunge is a graduate from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya (MBBS). He is currently studying for his masters in health informatics.

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