Connection Between Diabetes and Heart Disease

According to the American Heart Association website, diabetes and heart disease are linked together closely. The organization says people with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke. The fact that two out of three people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease, or CVD, supports this number.

Diabetes and Heart DiseaseAlthough diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, you can control both diseases with good information and by implementing the right diet and exercise plan. If you have been diagnosed with one or both conditions, find the right resources to help you get better. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) are two reputable sources to get the right information regarding diabetes and heart disease.

The Effect of Glucose in your body

Your body uses glucose for energy, but when you are a diabetic, you either do not produce enough insulin to use the glucose or your body does not use the insulin effectively. Over time, the accumulation of too much glucose in your blood has a damaging effect on your nerves and blood vessels. This damage can eventually lead to CVD and stroke.

If diabetes is not controlled it can lead to very serious health conditions resulting in kidney problems, vision loss and amputations. Getting to this stage takes time and it is only the result of neglect and not managing your diabetes properly. Millions of people are living with diabetes, and leading productive and healthy lives.

Contributing Diabetic Factors in CVD

The numbers for people with diabetes and heart disease do not sound too promising, but this is because of neglect, as the AHA considers diabetes a controllable risk factor in CVD. Even after you have control of your blood sugar, a number of risk factors cause heart disease, especially among patients with Type 2 diabetes, such as:

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure, linked with insulin resistance. Lowering your blood pressure will decrease your risk dramatically.
  • Obesity, especially morbid obesity, closely associated with patients with Type 2 diabetes. Obesity increases your chances of high blood pressure, insulin resistance and inflammation throughout your whole body.
  • High cholesterol levels, which, for a diabetic, can cause cholesterol abnormalities associated with lipids or fats, called diabetic dyslipidemia.

Types of Heart Disease

Pre-existing conditions can affect the type of heart disease you experience. The association between diabetes and heart disease is overwhelming, but so is the manageability of both conditions. Coronary artery disease (CAD) and congestive heart failure are closely related, and people with diabetes have contributing factors.

Diabetic cardiomyopathy is brought on in diabetic patients because they are prone to prolonged hypertension, chronic hyperglycemia and coronary atherosclerosis. Diabetic cardiomyopathy can be prevented or effectively treated by controlling the underlying conditions. If you have any history of heart disease in your family and you are a diabetic, talk to your doctor about preventative measures to reduce your risk.

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Preventative Measures You Can take

It is not always possible to prevent diabetes and heart disease. If you have Congenital heart disease and other inherit risk factors for diabetes, it can make you more susceptible than a person without these predispositions. You can, however, take a proactive strategy to minimize the damage.

You can take control by testing your blood sugar and checking your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels. The blood pressure of a diabetic should be below 130 over 80. The goal for the good,cholesterol level (or HDL) is more than 40, and the bad, cholesterol (LDL) is less than 100. Stop smoking, introduce physical activity into your lifestyle and ask your doctor if you can benefit from other therapies, such as daily aspirin therapy.

As a diabetic, one of the most important tests you can perform is the A1C test. It measures the average blood glucose control for the previous two to three months by determining the percentage of glycated hemoglobin in the blood. This test does not take the place of daily testing of blood glucose but should be performed at least twice a year.

There is Hope

Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can be crushing; however, the news comes with many options for you to manage your condition and live a long and fruitful life. You can see many examples of people living with diabetes by contacting local support groups and organizations. Diabetes and heart disease can be managed with the right information from the medical profession, support groups, family and friends.



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