diabetes and heart disease

Heart disease is common in people with diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot process carbohydrates efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar (sugar) levels. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% to 95% of diabetes diagnoses.

If not properly treated and controlled, diabetes can have a variety of side effects and lead to various health problems, such as kidney disease, eye disease, and nerve damage. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke (blocked blood flow or bleeding in the brain) than people without diabetes, and are younger.

However, by making lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your overall heart health. In turn, making healthier lifestyle choices will help you manage your diabetes better.

This article will discuss the link between diabetes and heart disease, the symptoms of heart disease, and what you can do to help protect your heart health.

The link between diabetes and heart disease

Sustained high blood sugar levels can cause damage to your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart. Over time, this damage can lead to heart disease.

Different types of heart disease include heart failure (the heart cannot pump blood enough), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), and atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of blood vessels due to the buildup of fatty plaque), which can lead to coronary artery disease (CAD). ) which restricts blood flow to the heart muscle.

Causes and Risk Factors

People with diabetes are more likely to have other conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, such as:

  • hypertension
  • abnormal cholesterol levels
  • high triglycerides

Other risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease include:

  • overweight or obese
  • no physical activity
  • Stick to foods rich in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium (salt)
  • drinking too much
  • family history of heart disease
  • ​​Smoking

signs and symptoms

Conditions such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and abnormal cholesterol have no symptoms. To find out if you have these conditions, you can have simple blood tests to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and check your blood pressure at your healthcare professional’s office.

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Common symptoms of heart disease include:

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent fatigue
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • arrhythmia
  • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
  • chest pain, tightness, or pressure
  • Numbness, pain, or weakness in your arms or legs
  • Throat, neck, jaw, upper stomach, or back pain
  • swelling in the legs, abdomen, or the area around the eyes
  • Indigestion, nausea, heartburn, or stomach pain
  • Loud snoring or sleep apnea (a condition in which you don’t breathe during sleep)

treatment and prevention

Regular check-ups are important to help identify any health problems. Early detection of heart disease and related risk factors can help you and your doctor develop a treatment plan to reduce your risk of complications.

Track blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol

Self-monitoring of blood sugar levels at home is an important part of any diabetes care routine. In addition to checking your blood sugar levels at home, you should have your A1C checked by your doctor every three to six months. A1C is a measure of the average blood sugar level over the past two to three months.

Also, get your blood pressure checked every time you visit your doctor, your cholesterol at least every five years, and more often if it’s not within the normal range.

Change your heart-healthy lifestyle

Diet: What you eat can have a direct impact on your heart health. Choose a heart-healthy diet, such as eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.

Choose healthier unsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats. Rehydrate with water while limiting sugary drinks and alcohol.

Physical activity: 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week is recommended. Break it however you want. A good goal is to exercise about 30 minutes in total most days of the week. Move your body the way you like, choose activities that you like and can stick to.

Stress: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Stress hormones can affect blood sugar levels and can also lead to high blood pressure. People with diabetes also have an increased risk of depression and diabetes distress, or burnout.

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Finding ways to cope and manage stress can go a long way toward preventing heart disease and other health conditions.

Sleep: Getting enough quality sleep each night can help reduce stress hormones. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Also, try to have regular sleep and wake times, which will help keep your circadian rhythm (day-to-day sleep patterns and other factors) consistent.

Consider medication or surgery

Medication: Another great way to help prevent heart disease is to take medication as prescribed. This includes diabetes medications and medications to manage cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and more. Never skip a dose or stop taking your medicine unless directed by your doctor.

Surgery: If you have heart disease, you may need surgery or other medical procedures. Depending on the type of heart complication, treatment will look different for everyone. If you have any questions or concerns about potential surgical treatment for your condition, please consult your doctor.

When to seek medical assistance

See your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of a heart attack (part of the heart muscle not getting enough blood) or stroke. Early treatment can help reduce any potential damage to the heart.

Symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • chest pain or pressure that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders, back, neck, or jaw
  • nausea, indigestion, or vomiting
  • shortness of breath
  • fainting or dizziness
  • Fatigue that does not go away with adequate rest or sleep

generalize

People with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease. Other conditions, such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, high triglycerides, and other lifestyle factors can also increase the risk of heart disease.

Steps you can take to help reduce your risk include managing your diabetes and other health conditions, choosing a heart-healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and taking any prescription medications.

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VigorTip words

Although people with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, there are things you can do to minimize this risk. Attending regular check-ups can help detect any problems or complications early. Work closely with your healthcare provider team to find the right treatment plan for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What types of heart disease are associated with diabetes?

    Heart disease includes several different types of problems that affect the heart, such as heart failure, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), and atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of blood vessels due to the buildup of fatty plaque). The most common type of complication associated with these is coronary artery disease, usually caused by atherosclerosis and affecting blood flow to the heart.

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    type of heart disease

  • What is your life expectancy with diabetic heart disease?

    According to a study Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, women with diabetes and heart disease can expect to live about 11 years less than women without both conditions. Men with diabetes and heart disease can expect to live about eight years less than men without both conditions.

    However, the researchers point out that the life expectancy of people with diabetes and heart disease can be changed by engaging in positive health behaviors and getting regular medical care.

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    10 Simple Steps to Extend Your Life Expectancy

  • What are the signs of an unhealthy heart?

    Possible signs of an unhealthy heart include:

    • hypertension
    • shortness of breath
    • persistent fatigue
    • dizziness or lightheadedness
    • arrhythmia
    • Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
    • chest pain, tightness, or pressure
    • Numbness, pain, or weakness in your arms or legs
    • Throat, neck, jaw, upper stomach, or back pain
    • swelling in the legs, abdomen, or the area around the eyes
    • Indigestion, nausea, heartburn, or stomach pain
    • Sweating without physical exertion
    • Loud snoring or sleep apnea

    understand more:

    Causes and Risk Factors of Heart Disease