Diabetes and hypertension can become BIG problems as you age.
During your younger years, it’s likely you weren’t worried about heart problems or metabolic disease. But as you age, you need to realize that these health conditions can affect you in more ways than you realize.
For example, studies have proven  that diabetes can lead to a higher risk of heart problems, just as heart problems can lead to a higher risk of diabetes. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulimia can contribute to higher risk of peripheral resistance, or decreased blood flow due to constricted arteries. And hypertension was discovered to develop in 14% of diabetic patients involved in a 1991 study . Of course, in that same study, the patients who developed hypertension also saw a worsening in their diabetes as a result.
The truth is that our cardiovascular system and metabolic system are both closely linked. What happens in one affects the other, both for the positive and negative. If you want to combat biological aging, it’s vital that you take steps to protect yourself from both diabetes and hypertension, two of the most common problems in the Western world today.
You may be wondering, “What can I do to reduce my risk of both diabetes and hypertension?” Here are some simple steps you can take:
Reduce salt intake – High salt intake is one of the primary contributors to hypertension. Sodium encourages water retention, which decreases blood flow and increased blood pressure, forcing the heart to work harder to supply blood to the body. Reducing your salt intake below the recommended daily intake—less than 2,300 milligrams per day, according to the CDC —will drastically reduce your hypertension and cardiovascular disease risk.
Quit smoking – Smoking is a major contributor to just about every serious heart condition. It’s not just going to affect your lungs negatively, but it will raise your blood pressure, weaken your blood vessels, and even promote the build-up of cholesterol. It’s absolutely worth the effort of quitting, because smoking will drastically increase your risk of heart disease.
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Manage your weight and calorie intake – Managing your weight can help to reduce the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in your bloodstream, which will help to prevent arterial narrowing, and clots resulting from damaged blood vessels and large cholesterol particles. Controlling your calorie intake can decrease your risk of diabetes, especially if you’re following a healthy, balanced diet. Pay special attention to foods that are rich in potassium, as potassium is vital for reducing hypertension and improving cardiovascular health.
Take magnesium supplements -- Magnesium is a mineral that, like potassium, can help to reduce your blood pressure and keep your heart functioning properly. A healthy, plant-based diet will typically be high in magnesium, but if you’re struggling with your eating, it’s a good idea to take a magnesium supplement to bolster your mineral intake.
Reduce alcohol intake – Did you know that alcohol not only raises your blood pressure, but floods your body with unnecessary calories and sugars that can increase your risk of diabetes as well as hypertension? Reducing alcohol intake to a healthy minimum (1-2 drinks per night, 2-3 times nights per week) is a good way to prevent both metabolic and cardiovascular problems.
Manage stress – Stress is a major contributor to high blood pressure and hypertension, as well as all cardiovascular health problems. Stress elevates your cortisol levels, which can keep your heart working overtime and put a strain on the muscles. Managing your stress is crucial for preventing diabetes and heart problems.
Try acupuncture – One 2018 review  took a closer look at all the papers published on using acupuncture for treating hypertension. Those most of the studies were conducted on animals, the results indicated that acupuncture helped to influence the endocrine system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and oxidative stress, causing a noticeable positive influence on the body and reducing hypertension and stroke risk. It’s an intriguing possible treatment or preventative measure to consider if you’re looking for new ways to manage and improve your health.
Get more fiber in your diet – Countless studies have linked higher dietary fiber consumption with improved health. One such study, published in 2016 , found that certain types of fiber—such as beta glucan, which is found in oat grains—can not only lead to lower blood cholesterol levels, but also better insulin control, weight loss, and improved glycemia. The same research also found that fiber can lower arterial blood pressure, both in pre-hypertensive and hypertensive subjects. Definitely a good reason to add more fiber into your diet!
Don’t let hypertension and diabetes age your body prematurely. Follow the advice above to manage your blood sugar levels and reduce blood pressure. Combatting metabolic and cardiovascular disease in these small ways every day will go a long way toward extending your lifespan!
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