When it comes to blood sugar levels, it’s not only people with diabetes who are at a greater risk for heart disease.
Dr. Richard Kay from ColumbiaDoctors Medical Group in Hawthorne says that even people who show signs of pre-diabetes are at risk.
“The traditional risk factors for heart disease are elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and a sedentary life style,” says Dr. Kay. “But studies over the past decade have shown that high glucose levels can also increase your risk significantly.”
Many people wrongly believe that if they do not have diabetes, they needn’t worry about their blood sugar and insulin levels. But studies show that over the long term, high blood sugar levels can nearly double one’s risk of heart problems.
Dr. Kay says that whether one is diabetic or not, simple lifestyle changes can considerably lower one’s risk of heart problems associated with high blood sugar.
One of the most important ways to regulate your blood sugar–and therefore your insulin–is through nutrition. Avoid foods that cause spikes in blood sugar and stick to complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain breads and pastas.
Physical activity is another great way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Simple exercises such as walking and bike riding can have a significant effect on your blood sugar.
It is also important to achieve and maintain your ideal body weight. “People with an increased body mass index (BMI) are often at a higher risk for heart disease,” says Dr. Kay.
The ideal BMI is 25 or less. Don’t know your BMI? Look online to see where you fall. Here’s a link to a BMI calculator from the U.S. Department of Health (DOH): http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
“And if 25 or less is not where you fall,” says Dr. Kay, “that should be your goal.”