Home health patient Janet Rutledge checks her vitals every day, using remote technology set up in her home.
“It tells me to put on blood pressure cup and the oxygen thing and I do that. And then it registers. And then I prick my finger for sugar and that registers,” says Janet Rutledge.
Over the years, high blood sugar damages blood vessels and puts people at risk for coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure, which Rutledge has.
“Patients with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for having heart disease,” says Dr. Steven Lee, cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Diabetics are at higher risk for heart disease, have additional causes of heart disease, may develop heart disease younger and have more severe heart disease.
“They typically die not from their diabetes, but rather from complications thereof. And heart disease is number one on that list,” says Dr. Lee.
Which is why careful monitoring is so important. Not just with diabetics who already have heart disease, but those who don’t. That group needs to be proactive, looking for any cardiac concerns during their annual doctor visits.
“One of the lab tests the physicians will be doing annual is lipid profile. Basically showing the amount of fat in the blood. Their looking at LDL low-density lipid protein, and we want those as low as possible. They’re looking at HDL, which is good cholesterol, and we want that as high as possible. Because it can actually protect against cardiovascular disease,” says Sharon Krispinsky, diabetes educator with Lee Memorial Health System.
Giving your heart love and attention, may guard against one of diabetes most deadly complications.