3 Tips for Diabetic Patients to Keep Their Hearts Healthy

With diabetes comes greater risk of heart disease. But it is possible to manage both conditions effectively. Here are three easy tips to follow:

#1: Eat right[1]

Experts suggest that you modify, not overhaul, your diet[1]. Try some of these simple modifications every day:

  • Go for more vegetables and have fruit in moderation
  • Want to eat out? You can still enjoy your chappati, chicken rice and nasi padang by cutting back on some ingredients like red meat (e.g. beef, lamb), coconut milk, palm oil, and other foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats[2].
  • When cooking, substitute lard or ghee with oils such as olive or sunflower oil[2].
  • Drinks are one way where a lot of sugar can sneak into your diet, so watch what you drink. Read the labels carefully for sugar content[2].
  • Think fibre, especially soluble fibre, to achieve a lower LDL level (also known as “bad” cholesterol). For instance, the next time you grab a loaf of bread, go for wholegrain instead of white bread. Getting rice? Go for the bag of brown rice[2].

#2: Get moving

Exercising has a host of benefits, including controlling blood sugar, strengthening the heart and lungs, improving blood pressure, and controlling cholesterol. An article by Harvard Medical School[3] says that if you choose to do “just one thing” for managing diabetes and heart disease, choose exercise.

If you are already doing a fair bit of walking to and from your home, congratulations. Walking has been shown to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance.     

#3: Know your numbers[4]

A combination of diabetes and high blood pressure or blood cholesterol further raises your risk for heart disease.

Keep track of your blood pressure and cholesterol. Here is a cheat sheet with key terms to remember, and numbers to aim for.    


Blood Pressure[3]

If you have the means, consider purchasing a device to take readings at home.

Speak to your doctor to understand how you can best manage your diabetes and risk of heart disease. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to other specialists such as a nutritionist, to help you create a suitable care plan specific for your needs and preferences.      

Disclaimer: The information provided is for information purpose only and is not meant to be substituted for the advice given by a registered medical practitioner. This information should not be used for diagnosing health problems or for self-medication. Boehringer Ingelheim shall not be responsible for any damages or losses arising out of access to or use of information provided.

[1] HealthXchange.sg. Diabetes and Food:  Top Tips on Fibre, Fruit and More. Last accessed May 2018.
[2] Singapore Heart Foundation. For diabetics. Last accessed May 2018.
[3] Harvard Medical School. 9 ways to protect your heart when diabetes threatens it. Last accessed May 2018.
[4] Cleveland Clinic. Cholesterol Numbers: What Do They Mean. Last accessed May 2018.