The Link Between Heart Disease and Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious condition that occurs when your body can no longer produce enough, or it cannot properly use the hormone insulin properly.

Insulin helps your body digest sugars from the food you eat and drink. Without it, sugars can build up in your bloodstream. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and even your heart.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes have heart disease and their death rates are about two to four times higher than those without diabetes. They also reported that 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. This means, more people are becoming at risk of developing heart disease.

Factors That Put Diabetics At Risk

As per the Center For Disease Control, about 70% of diabetics are suffering from high blood pressure – a risk factor for heart disease. But what exactly are the factors why diabetics are more likely to develop heart diseases? Here are the answers.

  • Many diabetic patients battle with overweight or obesity problems. The fact that diabetic dyslipidemia is common among patients who are battling with their weight, it only puts them at an even greater risk for heart problems.
  • The fluctuating glucose levels in the bloodstream can damage the interior surfaces of your blood vessels, causing fat deposits in the arteries. Eventually these deposits will calcify and harder the arteries, causing obstruction of the blood flow and stroke.
  • Diabetes affects a wide range of body reactions including throwing off the normal balance of your hormones and cytokines (proteins in the body that are used to communicate and carry out important functions in the body).

Why You Should Lose Weight

Type 2 diabetics usually battle with weight problems. It only makes their situation worse because obesity puts them at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure – a critical factor for heart disease.

Pamela Kontos, Nurse Practitioner at the Outpatient Diabetes Wellness Program at Advocate South Suburban Hospital says that the worst part is, type 1, type 2 and prediabetes have equal risks of developing heart diseases.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Condition

The signs and symptoms of heart problems are angina (chest pain), vomiting, nausea, left sided pain in the jaw, neck, arm, back or stomach and shortness of breath. Kontos added that in the case of diabetics, they should be more observant about their body.

Because neuropathy or the loss of sensation due to nerve damage is common among this condition, diabetics may not feel any chest pain and the rest of the signs and symptoms, even if it has already started to manifest.

The best way to prevent heart disease or any heart-related condition associated with diabetes altogether is to take good care of your health and keep your blood glucose levels under control. It is important that you also include lifestyle and diet improvements, exercise and stress management.

Prevention And Treatment

Despite the link of heart disease and diabetes, Kontos recommends that the best way to prevent heart disease is to manage your diabetes with an utmost importance. Your diabetes care management will help prevent the risk of heart disease later on.

Keep in mind that diabetes is a detrimental disease. There are ways for you to continue to live comfortably but that does not mean you should rely on taking medications and drugs alone.

There are effective ways to naturally reverse diabetes – by eliminating the underlying causes. This requires you to exercise daily, stay active, and change your diet.

Even if you have been living a completely healthy and clean lifestyle, never alter your medications without your doctor knowing about it first. Instead, continue to live healthily and see your doctor again after several weeks so that he can reassess your condition once more.

Getting diagnosed with diabetes is not the end of the road, but rather a wake up call. By exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, you can naturally get rid and prevent the recurrence of diabetes, and the health complications (like heart disease) that come along with it.
When you think critically, take informed actions and follow your doctor’s advice, you can take charge of your health.

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