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The Importance of Addressing Diabetes

People rarely think of their health until it is lost or threatened.

If you have diabetes or are a pre-diabetic you have a health management issue. Many people fail to deal with their condition early enough because this is a quiet disease rarely causing problems in the beginning stage. However, with long-standing uncontrolled high blood glucose levels, the damage is done leading to vision complications, heart attacks, strokes, and foot ulcers that often lead to leg amputation.
 
Some patients may not understand that many complications of diabetes stem from one primary issue: the havoc that high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, causes for the body’s blood vessels. Blood brings oxygen to every living cell in the body through the vascular system, and when blood vessels aren’t working properly the body will suffer.
 
Diabetes is a risk factor for vascular disease, which causes damage to the arteries of the retina, kidneys, heart, brain, and to the arteries of the legs and feet. Those with diabetes should have routine preventative care: primary care visits, aggressive glucose control, evaluation for complications of vascular disease, and the appointments with various specialists such as ophthalmologists, nephrologists, vascular surgeons and podiatric specialists.

How Important Is Your Mental Health?

Depression and Vascular Disease

Quarantine has caused many cases of mental health issues among our friends and family.  Isolation can lead to loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
 
For some, mental health issues can lead to more health issues. People with depression or anxiety are more prone to develop heart and vascular disease, according to a recent study by Harvard Medical School.
 
The study concluded those who reported high or very high levels of depression and anxiety were more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke than people without those symptoms.
 
Here is a list of 10 questions used to identify people who need further assessment for anxiety or depression. People can select answers ranging from 1 to 5: 1 (none of the time); 2 (a little of the time); 3 (some of the time); 4 (most of the time); 5 (all of the time).
 
During the past four weeks, about how often did you feel
___ depressed?
___ nervous?
___ so nervous that nothing could calm you down?
___ restless or fidgety?
___ so restless that you could not sit still?
___ tired out for no good reason?
___ that everything was an effort?
___ so sad that nothing could cheer you up?
___ hopeless?
___ worthless?
 
Scoring: 15 or lower = low; 16–21= moderate; 22–29 = high; 30–50 = very high
 
The findings from the study don’t necessarily mean that mental distress causes heart and vascular issues, but it does raise awareness to the issue.
 
If you score high on the distress level test – or just feel depressed or anxious – don’t be afraid to seek help. Reach out to friends and family. Also ask your primary care provider to recommend potential treatments to battle your challenges.
 
Always remember – you aren’t alone!