Heart-Felt Tips For a Healthy Heart (Continued)
In your heart of hearts you know you shouldn't be SMOKING
Stub out that smoke! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Everyone has been telling you how bad smoking is for you. Blah, blah, emphysema, blah, blah. Yada, yada, lung cancer, yada, yada. First, second, and third hand smoke. Yes, you've heard it all before.
And you might even have heard (and have probably conveniently forgotten) that smoking doubles your risk of getting heart disease. Doubles. As in times two. Talk about shot through the heart.
But I'm wondering if anyone ever bothered to tell you how and why? This isn't just a case of docs not liking an "unhealthy" habit. Smoking has an immediate effect on the body's circulatory system. Smoking is a vasoconstrictor. Each puff on a cigarette is like having a pissed-off octopus grab your aorta and squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze it. And squeeeeeezed blood vessels are smaller in diameter. Which means blood has a harder time getting though. Which means the heart has to work harder.
And if the angry octopus doesn't do it for you, think back to childhood. Remember playing with the garden hose? When you wanted to spray it further or move it, you pinched it off, twisting it over on itself. The pressure would shoot up and the hose would hiss like a snake.
I want you to picture hissing snakes inside your chest the next time you decide to light up to "relax."
Why being a sweetheart is a bad idea
It's this simple: high blood sugar is bad for your heart. High blood sugar interferes with vasodilation, keeping the blood vessels narrow, the opposite side of the smoking coin. High levels of glucose in your blood also add to plaque buildup.
Elevated blood sugar causes both macro and micro vascular damage. That means it's toxic to blood vessels large and small alike. The heart of the matter is that sugar is poison to your heart.
A heart of gold
So there you have it. Love your heart and it'll love you back. Diabetes stacks the deck against us, but if we keep our tummies trim, our cholesterol in check, our blood pressure down, kick the habit, and control our blood sugar — we won't be-still our beating hearts before our time.
Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...