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Under Pressure: How to Keep Your Heart Healthy With Diabetes

Thursday, November 21, 2019 3:07 PM

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a good time to make sure you monitor your blood pressure. This is important for everyone, but those with diabetes are at an increased risk for high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack and stroke. 

Not everyone with diabetes will notice symptoms, including those with a diagnosis, as long as they are controlling their condition effectively.

Monitoring Blood Pressure

Take these steps to make sure your BP is A-OK:

  • Take some weight off your shoulders. “Losing 5-10% of your current weight will make a big difference,” said NorthShore Certified Diabetes Educator Gail Meyerson, MSN/Ed, RN, CDE.
  • Make mealtime matter. Enjoy a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean meats. Limit salt and added sugar.
  • Avoid the mess of stress. “Getting enough exercise can do wonders for your mood,” Meyerson said. “Giving up unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, also helps reduce stress.”
  • Control your blood sugar. If symptoms of high blood sugar levels do appear, they include:
    • Excessive thirst
    • Frequent need to urinate
    • Increased night-time urination
    • Weakness and tiredness
    • Blurred vision