As the hardest working muscle in the human body, the average heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood per day, supplies oxygen and nutrients to just about every organ, and removes metabolic wastes.
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, responsible for around 17.9 million lives each year . And, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), identifying those at risk, such as those with higher blood glucose levels, can prevent premature deaths and other potential heart complications. So, it probably goes without saying that regularly checking in on your heart and blood sugar is always a good idea.
What is the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease?
In the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes and heart disease often go “hand in hand”. In fact, if you have diabetes, it’s estimated that your twice as likely to develop heart disease than someone without the condition .
While the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can make it difficult for the heart to function properly, those with diabetes are also more likely to have certain conditions that can increase a person's risk of cardiovascular disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- High levels of LDL cholesterol, sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol
What are the advantages of regular heart testing?
One of the primary behavioural factors of both heart disease and stroke are an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake - each of which can be controlled and managed in order to help in preventing cardiovascular disease . In saying that, there are some risk factors, and some conditions, that can go unnoticed without regular heart testing and general health check-ups.
Some advantages of regular heart testing include:
- Access to the correct treatment early
- Detect conditions or any problems early
- Stay in the know about your overall health
- Reduce and/or prevent chances of cardiovascular diseases
What do heart check-ups involve?
For those living with diabetes, it’s normal for your healthcare provider to recommend regular heart checkups. According to the American Heart Association, some common non-invasive tests include :
Electrocardiogram: This is a simple non-invasive test used to measure your hearts electrical activity
Stress test: Sometimes known as the treadmill test, this test is used to help gain insight into how your heart functions during exercise
Echocardiogram: This test uses sound waves to take a picture of your heart, this image can be used to examine the hearts structure
See also: 10 Simple Steps for a Healthy Heart
One of the best and most reliable ways to know more about your blood sugar levels and/or how well your diabetes is being managed is through a test - this can be done with your local doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home Diabetes Test for HbA1c, also known as an A1c test can provide insight into your blood sugar levels over a period of time. This test is helpful both to identify if you’re at risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes or to help manage diabetes. It’s important to know that for people with diabetes, this test is not a replacement for regular blood sugar testing.
This test is performed by taking a simple finger prick sample which is sent to the same labs used by doctors and hospitals. Your online results will be available within 5 days and our medical team is available throughout the day to answer any questions you may have.
It’s recommended you take the test if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, have a family history of diabetes, or are experiencing symptoms of diabetes such as:
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Feeling very hungry
See also: How do you Check for Diabetes From Home?