Fitness and diabetes
Diabetes sometimes leads to problems such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and kidney or eye problems.
In fact, two out of every three people with diabetes die from stroke or heart disease.
But you can cut your chances of having these problems by taking care of the ABCs of diabetes.
ABCs of diabetes
A is for A1C. This blood test shows average blood sugar for the past two to three months. An A1C test can help you monitor how well your treatment plan is working. By managing blood sugar and lowering A1C, problems such as kidney, eye and nerve damage can be prevented. The A1C should be checked at least twice a year.
B is for blood pressure. Your blood pressure numbers tell you the force of blood flow inside your vessels. When blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder. High blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke and can also damage your eyes and kidneys. Your blood pressure should be checked at every doctor visit.
C is for cholesterol. Your cholesterol numbers tell you the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds, like HDL, help protect your heart. Others, like LDL, can clog your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. Triglycerides are another kind of blood fat that raises your risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your cholesterol levels should be checked every year.
Download this chart from here to record your ABC targets and results, and to keep track of other components of diabetes care.
Steps to protect your heart
- Take care of the ABCs of diabetes.
- If you smoke, get help to quit.
- Watch your weight.
- Aspirin and certain medications for blood pressure and cholesterol protect your heart. Ask your health care provider which medications are best for you.
- Know the warning signs of heart attack and stroke.
Physical activity and fitness
Regular physical activity can help lower your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, thus lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Aerobic exercise makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, helps your insulin work better and improves blood circulation. For most people, it’s best to aim for a total of about 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. You can start slowly, at 5 to 10 minutes a day, and work your way up, or split up your activity for the day by trying a brisk 10-minute walk after each meal.
Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles and makes everyday chores like carrying groceries easier for you. With more muscle, you burn more calories, even at rest. A strength-training routine can be done several times a week, through lifting weights at home, or a strength-training class with weights, elastic bands or plastic tubes.
Flexibility exercises, or stretching, help keep your joints flexible and reduce your chances of injury during activities. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes helps your body warm up and get ready for aerobic activities and to cool down after your activity.
Consult with your health care provider to find the exercise program that’s right for you. You can also find fitness tips and workout ideas on the Kanza Wellness Center page.