By Robin Wright
The connection between our heads and hearts has always been the subject of poetry, philosophy and inspirational thinking. Here are the Dalai Lama’s thoughts on the subject, “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
In living with type 2 diabetes, we need to pursue self-compassion, from the heart, and knowledge, from the head to guide our self-management.
In physiologic reality, the health of our hearts and brains are intimately connected. A consequence of poorly managed diabetes, high and low blood sugar levels, damages both small and large blood vessels. If this is unchecked it causes cardiovascular problems. Hard fact: over two-thirds of people with diabetes die from heart disease and cardiovascular problems.
Our brain functioning is affected in a similar way. If our vascular system is damaged in the brain, it interferes with a steady flow of oxygen rich blood. This can lead to cognitive impairment such as fuzzy thinking and forgetfulness, an early form of dementia. So, to keep our heart and brain healthy we must stay aware of reducing our cardiovascular risks such as getting regular physical activity, smoking cessation and managing our blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Here is some good news, according to a study published by the Harvard Medical School’s Health Blog dated June 2015, “research has shown that tight blood sugar control can reduce the risk of both microvascular (small blood vessels) and cardiovascular (macrovascular) damage.
This translates to aiming for HbA1c levels under 7%. Heart attacks and stroke were 17% lower for those with an HbA1c under 7% than those whose blood sugar levels were a bit higher.
Unfortunately, due to the highly specialized practice of medicine, healthcare professionals frequently do not connect the dots by explaining this crucial information. I have learned this on my own. I hope this adds to your better understanding of setting health goals for yourself!
Suggested post: Diabetes and Heart Disease (Cardiovascular Disease)
Photo Credit: Maxlkt (Pixabay) and Congerdesign (Pixabay)