Achy Breaky Heart: How Diabetes Affects Your Most Precious Organ

Achy Breaky Heart: How Diabetes Affects Your Most Precious Organ

It's February - the month of love, Valentine's Day, and the heart. Yes, it's actually American Heart Month! While most people think diabetes is a disease of the pancreas, it also has a lot to do with the health of your most precious and hard-working organ: your heart!

In short, diabetes is a disease that negatively affects the blood vessels. The blood vessels suffer tremendously as the sugary and sticky blood of an uncontrolled diabetic travels through the vascular corridor system of the body.

Unlike the skin, which can be safely and repeatedly exfoliated with scrubs, the inside of the blood vessels cannot. Quite differently, when concentrated amounts of sugar and attached debris travel up and down the vessel walls, the vessels become damaged and scarred.

After some time with elevated blood glucose, blood vessels start to look like an old water hose left in the heat of summer with the highest pressure on so that it nearly bursts. Just as easily, it can left out to freeze in the snow. Imagine what that hose looks like after those two seasons of climate change. It is cracked, kinked, and bulging in spots. It is no longer as supple as it was when you brought it home from the store.

Don't let that happen to your blood vessels! This is exactly what they will look like after extended periods of time with elevated blood sugars.

How does this affect the heart? Well, if blood glucose is high and damaging the blood vessels, the heart can't get what it needs: oxygen!

Blood vessels are carrying the blood, but they are not carrying adequate amounts of oxygen to their destinations if they are interfered by sugar.

Additionally, the sugar is directly damaging the vessels, especially the small vessels of the eyes, the kidneys, the genitals, and the extremities like the toes and fingers.

Given that sugar is not good for the insides of your blood vessels, you can optimize your diet by using your NutriBullet every day to ensure you get your 30-50 grams of fiber from 6-10 cups of vegetables and 2-3 fruits.

Consider the addition of fibers like psyllium and oat bran.

When having starches, enjoy beans, peas, lentils, and whole grains.

Be diligent about reading food labels and, if a food contains less than 5 grams of fiber per serving, consider another option.

Don’t let heart disease complicate your life.

Jump on board and enjoy your life today! Have the best nutrition ever and the most flavorful nutrition ever. One flavor today, another tomorrow. Every single day allots for variety and enjoyment of foods - great health means you'll enjoy them all the more!

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Comment by Tlvdatsi
February 22, 2015
My diabetic husband is a picky eater and I am overweight, so I bought this in order to change our lives. His blood sugar levels are getting bad (over 300 every check) and his A1C is over, what is the best place to start recipe wise to help him and me? And if a specific recipe has an ingredient in it that isn't appealing can it be omitted without totally spoiling the recipe or how can I learn to substitute something for it that is just as good?
Reply by SarahLefkowitzRD
February 25, 2015
Hey there! Check out the recipes on this page - they are an excellent place to start: Feel free to make substitutions or take out ingredients - just don't replace low-carb options with high-carb options and you should be set. :)
No Avatar

Thank you for your comment! It is pending approval and should be posted shortly.