I remember thinking being called a sweetheart was such a compliment, but it does not work biologically.
In reality, the correlation between the blood sugar levels and your heart is not good when the sugars are too high! When your blood sugar level is off, it causes problems throughout your body including your heart. The data on deaths from these issues is startling.
According to data from The New Jersey Department of Health in 2015:
· 18,649 NJ residents died of heart disease (1)
· Nearly 2,000 deaths each year are because of diabetes. The age-adjusted death rate because of diabetes is about 18 per 100,000 standard population. The age-adjusted death rate among males is more than double the rate among females. The rate among Blacks is much higher than other racial/ethnic groups but the gap is narrowing. (2)
The body needs energy from glucose (also called blood sugar). Carbohydrates provide that energy. When glucose or blood sugar travels through the body its destination is our blood cells, but it can not enter the cells without help. So, the pancreas produces insulin which virtually escorts the glucose to the cells and unlocks the cell door allowing the glucose to enter the cell and produce energy. If a person eats excess carbohydrates, however, it causes the body to produce too much insulin. When too much insulin presents to the cells, they get overwhelmed or jammed up and will not let the insulin open the door. The insulin, stuck outside the cell, moves the glucose to other locations so it accumulates in the bloodstream and moves to the belly and liver which stores excess glucose until it is needed. If excess carbohydrate consumption continues, it produces excess insulin. The cells can not handle the excess and resist the insulin leading to unbalanced blood sugar levels. As the cycle continues the body may turn prediabetic because the resisted insulin is unable to deliver the excess blood sugar and levels go outside a healthy range. The result is the person feels tired from lack of energy and reaches for more carbohydrates for fuel. High blood sugar makes you old, fat, tired and sick and it leads to a number of illnesses including, but not limited to cardiovascular disease. (3)
If the cycle continues, the insulin producer called the pancreas can wear out and stop producing enough insulin to move the blood sugar through the blood creating high blood sugar levels in the blood. When this cycle is repeated enough blood sugar levels get to the diabetic Type 2 stage. The National Institute of Health explains how diabetes damages your blood vessels which raises your chances of death from heart disease or stroke. “Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances you will develop heart disease. ... In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke.” (4) People with diabetes develop heart disease at a younger age and are twice as likely to die of a heart attack or stroke.
Getting regular blood work is essential for us to know how our insulin and blood glucose or blood sugar levels are. We can watch the size of our waists.
For a woman the waist should be no more than 35 inches and for a man 40 inches. We are in control of the amount of carbohydrates we allow into our bodies. That is good news. When we limit the consumption of breads, rice, pastas and starchy vegetables in our system we can reduce our waist size and reduce our blood sugar to normal levels and protect our pancreas from wearing out in an effort to produce all that insulin that is resisted. That will greatly reduce our chances of heart disease. The US Food Plate (5) can help us to understand the guidelines to keeping our bodies in good working order for our adult lives as we enter our 40s and beyond.
If you are interested in learning more or want to set up an action plan to reduce sweets for your heart among other organs, you can reach me at 732-507-5595 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer a free initial session to get you started.
(1) New Jersey Department of Health, accessed 10/14/2018 https://www.state.nj.us/health/chs/hnj2020/chronic/heartdiseasestroke/index.shtml
(3) Dr. Sears Wellness Institute Class Slides Stable Insulin Levels and Sears, William, MD/ Sears, Martha, RN. Prime-Time Health pp. 306-9.
(4) NIH—NIDDK, accessed 10/13/18 https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
(5) Choose My Plate accessed 10/10/18, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/