Serious as a Heart Attack

Serious as a Heart Attack

          My mom had a heart attack last week. And this week my Health Coach assignment was to write a paper on The Connection between Heart Disease and Diabetes.  Coincidence? I think not. I’m clearly in the flow and the Universe, because it is kind, made sure that I am educated enough to help my mom, and can pass this information on to you.  I thought I understood; I should have known. But here is what I learned that applies to all of us. Heart disease is no longer an old person’s concern. We are all equally susceptible given the American diet and lifestyle. Heart Attacks as early as 40 years old are not unheard of anymore. Here is the skinny on fat in plain English…

          Almost all chronic diseases can be traced back to how we eat (impacting blood sugar), and based on and lifestyle choices. This is especially true as we age and the body naturally slows down and shows the effect of all that build-up over the years. It appears as illnesses or chronic diseases. Obesity, physical inactivity, high blood cholesterol, hypertension, and smoking are common risk factors for cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and kidney diseases. Blood sugar can be linked to all of these, especially between heart disease and diabetes.

          In Washington DC, similar to the Nation at large, chronic diseases make up almost 65% of the top 15 causes of death with Cardiovascular disease and diabetes making up half of that. In Ward 8, where my family lives, with a population over 90% African American, 20.4% of the population have Diabetes and 5% have Heart disease and over 30% of the population is over 40 years old.  This is FOUR times more than other diverse and more affluent wards in the city (4% &1.4% respectively). These types of statistics are important to understand their prevalence and your predilection to having them. Lifestyle, environment, attitude and nutrition are key factors for health and quality of life. Let’s wake up.

          When people talk about Blood sugar, they are typically referring to having too much extra sugar or glycogen in the bloodstream. This is how it works…In a healthy body, insulin is the key that opens the door to delivering the perfect amount of energy (sugar) into the cells in your body. When you eat too many carbs (sugar), too much insulin gets released into your body. Sugar=Energy=Carbs. After your cells are full, they close the doors. Moreover, they will become more resistant to repeated attempts of insulin to get the cells doors open in the future. At this stage type 2 diabetes develops.

          When you eat too many junky carbs (ie. Energy or sugar), extra sugar has nowhere to go so it stores up a fat and attaches to proteins that clog our arteries. The carbs in fruits and vegetables are healthy because they also have fiber and protein that slow down the insulin rush. So eat the right carbs. This is the connection between diabetes and heart disease. But even if you are not diabetic, the extra insulin is now clogging the veins, limiting oxygen and blood flow to the heart and creating weight gain, sluggishness and that all leads to, you guessed it, Heart disease and other chronic diseases.  Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about two-to-four times higher than adults without diabetes, and the risk for stroke is two-to-four times higher among people with diabetes. Stable Insulin Levels are the three magic metabolic words of Prime-Time Heath. 

          To live a healthy life with increased vitality, focus on the right nutrition and lifestyle to balance the insulin levels.  Simply put--excess blood sugar (carbs) releases too much insulin, that together hang out in the body (fat) and blood (clog) and creates obesity, cholesterol and high blood pressure, which all stress the heart and lead to Heart Disease.   The good news is that with lifestyle changes, this buildup can be reversed. Blood sugar is lowered by activity so exercise and activity help to shed this buildup, and eating the right foods is medicinal unto itself. Wake up. I did.   

UGottaEat, eat mindfully.



Dr Sears Prime-Time Health & Workbook Make Health Your Hobby

Chronic Disease Prevention State Plan for DC 2014-2019