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Doc Talk | Preventing diabetes and heart disease

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Doctors are now linking diabetes with heart disease.

They say if you can prevent one, you can possibly stop the other from happening too.

Two diseases you would think were separate. Dr. Prasanna Sugatahm is a cardiologist with Geisinger Holy Spirit. She brings up heightened risk as the linking factor.

"I think of diabetes as heart disease," Dr. Sugatahm said. "There is a much higher likelihood of someone with diabetes having heart disease."

Diabetes changes the chemical makeup of your body which could take a toll on your heart health.

Dr. Sugatahm notes that because of lipid abnormalities the number of risk factors for coronary disease increase.

"Diabetes also affects the lipid metabolism, so cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism in the body," Dr. Sugatahm said. "It comes down to the patient to be doing a lot toward disease prevention."

Which begins with how you treat yourself.

Dr. Sugatahm adds a bit of advice that can make a huge difference.

"Because of the daily decisions we all make about what we eat and what we do activity wise," Dr. Sugatahm said. "One of the most important piece of advice that I give my patients is to eat food the way God made it, not the way man made it better."

Which means stick with whole foods, and not to forget to add that exercise to the mix towards a healthier you.

"If at all possible, eliminate processed foods," Dr. Sugatahm said. "Exercise increases the efficiency of the insulin that they have in there system already"

Which can decrease the need for medications and improves the diabetes control. It comes back to how you treat you.

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