heart month

Diabetes and Heart Disease

It’s February again which means Valentine’s Day, Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays, and American Heart Month! Since diabetes and heart disease go hand-in-hand, it is important to understand what makes people with diabetes more susceptible to heart disease and how it can be avoided. Let’s check out the different diabetes risks that contribute to heart disease!

1. Poorly Controlled Blood Sugars

Diabetes can cause your blood sugar levels to go beyond a normal range. When this happens, the viscosity of your blood increases, which is harmful to the heart. That is why it is essential that people with diabetes test their blood glucose levels regularly using test strips and a blood glucose meter.

2. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure has been proven to be a major risk factor for different kinds of heart diseases. Studies have shown a strong correlation between high blood pressure and insulin resistance. Patients with both diabetes and hypertension have double the chance of contracting a cardiovascular disease.

3. Obesity

Obesity is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is very strongly associated to people with diabetes as well. Weight loss through exercising and eating well can decrease the risk of heart disease, increase insulin reactiveness, and decrease insulin concentration.

4. Abnormal Cholesterol Levels

There are three main components when it comes to cholesterol readings. You are given your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) can build up inside your blood vessels, restricting the amount of blood that can pass through them, so high levels of LDL can lead to heart disease. HDL cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol) takes toxins and other substances to your liver for excretion from the body, so low levels of HDL can leave you at risk for disease. Triglycerides are a type of fat that, when in large amounts in your blood stream, can increase your risk for heart disease.

5. Smoking

Smoking, whether you are a diabetic or not, doubles your risk of heart disease. However, it is especially dangerous for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow your blood vessels. Smoking also leads to various other health risks including eye problems and lung disease.

Early detection of a diabetic heart disease is very important. Examinations of the blood pressure, blood glucose level, pulse, cholesterol, heart structure, size and heart functions performed by your cardiologists can help you identify if you are at risk for heart attack. Knowing the diabetes risks that contribute to heart disease and attempting to limit them is the best strategy to prevent heart disease.

By: DiabeticCare editorial team; Published: 2-20-2014, 2:00 PM

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