Thursday, January 28, 2010

Diabetic Women Have Higher Heart Risks Than Men Do

According to the Philippine National Statistics Office, in a data report in 2004, Filipino women tend to be at higher risks of heart disease than men do. While it's true that men develop heart disease earlier than women, the later's risk of heart attack jumps dramatically when they reach the age of 55 or when they reach their menopause.

There are some aggravating factors to a woman's heart risk aside from age. I was reading this ad by Abbot in Reader's Digest, March 2009, which has this message which all women must consider. If any two or more of these categories are positive in a woman, she must see her doctor before anything happens to her.
  • If she is 55 years old and more
  • If she belongs to a family with a member who had a heart attack
  • If she smokes or in constant company with a smoker at home or in work place
  • If she is overweight
  • If her blood pressure is 140/90mm Hg or higher
  • If she has a total cholesterol over 200 mg/dl
  • If she has good cholesterol below 40 mg/dl
  • If her fasting blood sugar (FBS) is over 6.1 mmol/L or over 120 mg/dl
My recent laboratory test results taken last January 20, 2010,  yielded: 1) an increased  FBS at 8.58 mmol/L, 2)  high (bad) cholesterol at 176.65 mg/dL, 3) low (good) cholesterol at 55.03 mg/dL. 4)  I'm 63 years old. 5)  My father succumbed to heart attack at age 86. These give me 5 items to qualify as having a high risk of heart disease.

I had been suspected recently to have suffered from a mild transient ischematic  attack. It was my first time to experience such. So I underwent an ECG which yielded this result:  non-specific, which was explained to me by my cardiologist this way. My heart was neither very good nor very bad. To see what really was wrong with me for suffering a mild symptom of heart attack, I underwent the 2D Echo test, too. And I was happy with the result. My heart is healthy, but I have to take a quarterly ECG to monitor my heart condition as I am a heart risk, being a diabetic.

Effects of High Cholesterol in the Body

What is blood cholesterol?

Cholesterol, like glucose, is a normal component in the blood, in the brain, and in all other tissues throughout the body. Pure cholesterol consists of white crystals, something like sugar, but dissolves in fat not in water. It is manufactured by the body chiefly in the liver and adrenal glands. about 14 percent of the dry weight of the brain and the spinal chord combined consists of cholesterol.

When people eat more saturated fats than their body needs, the production of cholesterol in the body increases. Excess cholesterol ends up in the blood stream where it accumulates in the walls of the arteries.  Overtime, increased quantity of cholesterol in the body precedes the appearance of fatty deposits in the lining of the arteries. The fatty deposits attract compound of calcium which become plaque that thickens and stiffens the walls of the arteries making them hard and inelastic. This condition also  narrows the passageway for blood which adds to the abnormal circulation of the blood in  people with diabetes or cause hypertension that can lead to heart attack.

Cholesterol is undoubtedly one of the key substances in the metabolism of the body. However, its exact role is not well understood. What is clearer is that, when blood cholesterol levels are permanently raised, the individual becomes susceptible to a number of diseases such as heart disease. It therefore makes sense for me who is at risk to  consider reducing my daily  intake of fats that produce cholesterol in the body to prevent heart attack.

Effects of  High Blood Glucose in the Body

What is blood glucose?

Glucose is another normal component in the blood, hence it is also known as blood sugar. Glucose is found in carbohydrates in the form of simple sugar and complex carbohydrates. When these are taken into the body, they are burned down and assimilated into the cells in  the body and used as primary  source of energy.

Glucose is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. When the blood needs sugar, the glycogen is readily converted back into glucose. In diabetics , the body is unable to use glucose properly resulting to an excessive build up  of sugar in the blood. This excess sugar is passed off in the urine in a condition called glycosuria.

Excessive sugar in the blood has been accused of contributing to many diseases and health disorders like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.  In serious cases of hypoglycemia or a dangerous drop in blood sugar, the diabetic may become comatose and if not treated in time, may result to death.

A good monitoring of the blood glucose level, accompanied by a good diet plan to reduce sugar intake, prevents other repercussions of heart attack due to mismanaged diabetes. This is my reminder to myself to prevent possible occurrence of symptoms of a more serious form of heart trouble.


  1. Hi, Lita! I struggled with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant and it really, really stunk having to watch what I ate and exercise more than usual. Even though it went away after my son was born, I'm still at a higher risk to develop type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. So, I have to practice good healthy eating habits and stick to the regimen my dietitian prescribed to me whilst still pregnant. Even though I slip once in awhile, I just had my physical done a few days ago and my blood sugar levels are actually normal. Still, I know that if I go overboard on sugar or other unhealthy eating habits, those numbers can really go up.

    Great tips here, and I'll surely keep all that you've mentioned in mind! ;)

  2. Thank you for your sharing about gestational diabetes. You are somehow lucky that you had been warned early. Let as not forget that a diabetic's diet is one of the best, ever. "Going overboard"- it happened to me, I wasn't able to discipline myself this recent past. The festive meals of Christmas got me. Take care and follow a healthy diet plan.

  3. Thanks, Lita. I'm glad I found out about it early (aged 31). I was actually borderline gestational, but still placed on a diet which helped me maintain my levels. Luckily, I didn't need insulin, and diet and exercise kept my blood sugar levels normal. I still stick to the diet, although it's not too strict. I just have to watch my portions and I'm a sucker for cheesecake (I reward myself every so often). LOL.

  4. Cheesecake? Don't worry, I have good news for you in my next blog about what to do when you overindulged yourself in taking sugar. Watch out for it. It would be soon. For the meanwhile, yes, I strongly advice you to watch your portions. It's very costly to take insulin, proper diet is less expensive, saves you the doctor, too. Thanks, Bchai.



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