Type 1 Diabetes comes with a multitude of lifelong complications and a learned vigilance when it comes to your overall health. On top of the continuous care to maintain stable glucose and insulin levels is the risk of cardiovascular disease due to weakened blood vessels that are inevitably brought on by diabetes. Adding key nutritious foods can help make this lifelong process a bit easier by supporting your body from within – naturally.
The Risk of Heart Disease
The link between heart disease and diabetes has long been well established. Cardiovascular disease that leads to heart attack or stroke is the leading cause of death among those with diabetes. Though the greatest risk factor for heart disease is diabetes itself, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take action to help prevent it from happening to you.
A healthy diet—one that keeps cholesterol levels low and packed with vitamins and minerals—along with moderate exercise can help keep your heart and blood vessels strong, thus preventing the onset of cardiovascular disease. Understanding the mechanism behind heart disease, though, can help you prepare your body against fatal damages even further.
Endothelium and Weak Blood Vessels
The key to maintaining strong and healthy blood vessels depends a lot on the endothelium. The endothelium is the thin layer that lines blood vessels, allowing them to expand and constrict to regulate blood flow throughout the body. When this thin layer lining the blood vessels is damaged, however, it can cause the blood vessels to be less flexible over time.
In fact, one study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore found that participants who consumed a high-fat meal noticed stiffening effects in the blood vessels in the hours immediately following the meal. The result of the diet had rendered the endothelium as dysfunctional in the hours following the meals, demonstrating the potential for even more concerning effects for longer periods of time.
This study has proven to be helpful in further understanding the important role that the endothelium plays in overall blood vessel health, especially as it becomes an established risk factor for patients with diabetes, both Type 1 and 2. High glucose concentrations, as a result of faulty insulin production and/or absorption, can significantly impact the over functionality of this lining and thus lead into the ever-anticipated (and dreaded) heart disease.
Support Your Blood Vessels – Naturally
The same study that found that high-fat diets could lead to an immediate decline in endothelium flexibility also discovered that there were some simple—and natural—preventative measures that could be taken. When participants were given 800 IU of vitamin E and 1,000 of vitamin C, the nasty changes in the endothelium were otherwise avoided. The study opened up doors into further understanding the powerful impact that a healthy diet may have against cardiovascular disease among diabetic patients.
If you’re worried about heart disease as yet another complication of Type 1 diabetes, there are ways that you can support your cardiovascular system. Ensure that you are eating a well-balanced diet with vitamins E and C and exercise regularly to keep that precious blood flowing through your healthy veins. Take a look at other ways to keep your blood vessels in tip-top shape and take steps to support your body during this lifelong process!