The incidence of diabetes continues to rise and has quickly become one of the most prevalent and costly chronic diseases worldwide. A close link exists between diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the most prevalent cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients. The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of seven major controllable risk factors for CVD. Statistics show 68% of people aged 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of CVD; and 16% die of stroke. Furthermore, adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.
So why are people with diabetes at increased risk for CVD? The connection between diabetes and CVD starts with high blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. People with diabetes are also more likely to have certain conditions, or risk factors, that increase the chances of having heart disease or stroke, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obesity.
If you have diabetes, you can protect your heart and health by managing your blood sugar, as well as your blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight. Physical inactivity is a modifiable, major risk factor for insulin resistance and CVD. Exercising and weight loss can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure and help reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke.
For overall cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, plus moderate-to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.
Medically trained physical therapy and wellness staff can work with you to devise appropriate exercise routines, upon clearance of your physician. Following an initial assessment, exercise plans are personally tailored to each client taking past medical history, current fitness levels and health related goals into account.