Comorbidities? Here’s How It Can Impact Your Heart Health
- Co-morbidities play a significant role in the health of the heart.
- Co-morbidities associated with cardiovascular diseases are diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
- Covid –19 impact on co-morbidities.
- Management and lifestyle changes on co-morbidities.
In 2023 heart-related disorders are becoming more and more widespread. We all have a friend or a family member who is suffering and fighting cardiovascular disease.
But do you know what is the root cause of these heart diseases? Is there a common link between those heart conditions? Well, the answer to both questions is comorbidity, or the presence of multiple medical conditions.
We are sure you are familiar with the term co-morbidities; if not, here you go!
What are co-morbidities?
Co-morbidities refer to a person’s simultaneous presence of two or more chronic medical conditions.
The prefix ‘co’ signifies ‘together’, while the word ‘morbidity’ refers to a medical disease. It is also known as co-occurring or coexisting conditions. Several common co-morbidities can have a significant impact on the health of the heart.
In this blog, we will talk about some of the health conditions which are tightly interlinked with the health of our hearts.
How common co-morbidities affect your heart
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by higher levels of blood sugar. Today, millions of individuals worldwide suffer diabetes.
Here are some stats on diabetes and its association with heart health:
- Diabetes increases the risk of heart failure.
- Diabetic patients have an almost two-fold increased risk of heart failure.
- Blood sugar levels and HbA1C are directly linked. Each 1% rise in HbA1c is linked with an 8% greater risk of heart failure.
- About 31% of heart failure patients also suffer from diabetes.
Now, you might be thinking what exactly causes heart disease in people with diabetes?
Effect of Diabetes on heart health
- High blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels of the heart by the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
- Additionally, in people with diabetes, fats are broken down instead of sugar.
- Due to this, the heart’s function takes its toll. with decreased energetic reserves and cardiac efficiency.
Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is consistently elevated.
Hypertension is a highly prevalent disease so the odds of you having hypertension is roughly 1 out of 7.
The link between hypertension and heart health
Hypertension is one of the most common co-morbidities that affect heart health. This is how it affects heart health; high blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease.
Additionally, during hypertension workload of the heart is increased and with time, development of functional and structural changes in heart muscles. Ultimately, increasing the thickness of heart’s wall and leading to heart dysfunction and heart failure.
For stat geeks, we have got you covered.
- Hypertension is an established risk factor for the development of heart failure.
- Above the age of 30, CHF occurred six times more frequently among hypertensive subjects.
- The risk of Chronic HF in hypertensive was twice as high in men and three times as high in women.
- 54% of Chronic HF patients also had hypertension.
Obesity is a condition in which a person has an excess amount of body fat. According to Body mass index (BMI), the 25-20 range is denoted as overweight and 30 or higher falls under the obesity range.
How does obesity affect heart health?
Obesity is also associated with other comorbid, and obesity is the risk factor for diabetes mellitus and risk of hypertension. Obesity is also characterized by a state of chronic inflammation as during obesity the circulating levels of inflammatory markers are higher and promote inflammation. This leads to changes in heart muscle (fibrosis) which causes cardiac dysfunction. Obesity induces changes in heart structure, cardiovascular function, and conduction.
Now let’s check some stats:
- Heart failure risk is increased by 90% when BMI increases by 20.
- In HF patients, 33.8% are overweight and 20.8% are obese. So, a total of 54.6% of HF patients are either overweight or obese.
- Nearly 60-90% of the obese population have a diabetes risk.
Effect of co-morbidities in Covid-19
You might have heard about the ongoing pandemic effects on the overall health and immunity of the body. Now let’s discuss the effects of comorbidities in covid-19.
- Hypertension increases the risk of mortality by 2.5-folds in COVID-19 patients.
- In diabetic patients, COVID-19 can induce pro-inflammatory effects and increase insulin resistance.
- At least 10% of individuals with COVID-19 and diabetes experienced hypoglycemic (low blood glucose) episodes alongside worsening hyperglycemia (high blood glucose).
- With COVID-19, overweight and obese patients have a higher mortality rate
Management of co-morbidities
You might be well aware of the medications in the management of your co-morbidities. So, now let’s find out the adequate lifestyle and natural ways for the management of comorbidities.
Management of comorbidities includes:
1. Healthy Eating
- Healthy eating includes food containing high fiber such as fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains.
- Regular scheduled meals with small portion sizes and more frequent.
- Utilization of healthy cooking oil such as olive oil or canola oil.
- Food with low fat and diary content and overall mind the calories consumed.
- Lowering salt consumption, check food labels for sodium content. Ideally, limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg (about half the weight of a penny) a day or less.
2. Regular exercise
Exercise is essential for weight loss and regulating blood sugar. Before beginning or altering your exercise regimen, consult with your primary healthcare practitioner to confirm that the activities are safe for you.
- Aerobic activity: Choose a fun aerobic workout like walking, swimming, biking, or jogging. Adults should strive for at least 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) of moderate aerobic activity each week, or 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise on most days of the week.
- Resistance training: Resistance training improves your strength, balance, and ability to do daily chores more readily. Weightlifting, yoga, and calisthenics are examples of resistance exercises. Adults with type 2 diabetes should strive for two to three resistance exercise sessions each week.
3. Pay attention to your sleep
- Follow a sleeping schedule and try to maintain it, yeah even on weekends.
- Make sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep as Poor sleep may increase the risk of heart disease.
4. Manage stress
Stress management with help of relaxing techniques go long way in managing co-morbidities. Relaxing techniques such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises.
5. Limit alcohol consumption
Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks a day as excess alcohol consumption raises blood pressure.
6. Toss the cigarette
Say no to smoking, as tobacco injures the blood vessel wall.
Finally, the presence of multiple medical conditions, or co-morbidities, can have a major influence on heart health, increasing the risk of heart disease and related complications.
It is therefore important to manage and control these conditions through a healthy lifestyle, regular medical check-ups, and appropriate treatment. Individuals can enhance their overall heart health and lower their risk of cardiovascular disease by adopting proactive actions to control co-morbidities.
Did you like our Article?
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- Malik JA, et al. The impact of COVID-19 on the comorbidities: a review of recent updates for combating it. Saudi journal of biological sciences. 2022 Feb 10.
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