Understanding The Connection Between Diabetes And Heart Disease

June 8, 2023

Diabetes and heart disease are both serious medical issues. There is a significant connection between heart disease and diabetes. This connection is often seen in the risk factors linked to both conditions. Thus, managing these risk factors is key for individuals to reduce their chances of developing both heart disease and diabetes. They can also manage these conditions if they treat the risk factors well.

Of course, both conditions require significant treatment. Many individuals will need insulin or other diabetes medications to control their diabetes. Heart disease treatment often includes medications as well. Treatment for heart disease can also include heart surgery. Patients will often benefit from blood pressure medication as well as medication for cholesterol. However, individuals must understand the connection between heart disease and diabetes first.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is commonly seen in individuals with heart disease and diabetes. When individuals have high blood pressure, it means that their blood is pumping with significant force through their cardiovascular system. This increased force can lead to artery damage. If an individual has diabetes and high blood pressure, they will be at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Sometimes high blood pressure can be a result of environmental factors, such as stress or heat. Blood pressure changes throughout the day as individuals exercise and complete daily tasks.

Occasional high blood pressure does not tend to be cause for concern. However, suppose a patient's blood pressure is consistently high when monitored by a doctor. In that case, they will need to take steps to lower it. Some medications can help individuals manage high blood pressure. These open the blood vessels and relax the artery walls so that blood can flow through more easily. That reduces the force needed for the individual's heart to pump blood through their cardiovascular system.

High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is common in diabetes patients. It is also another example of the link between diabetes and heart disease. The reason is that high cholesterol is often one of the most significant factors contributing to heart disease. There are two types of cholesterol found in the blood: low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The former is the unhealthy type of cholesterol. In fact, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is healthy to have in certain amounts. As low-density lipoprotein cholesterol builds, it can cause the arteries to become narrowed and potentially blocked. That increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Over time, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol can contribute to the overall deterioration of an individual's cardiovascular system.

Individuals may also have problems with high triglycerides. Like cholesterol, these substances can narrow or block arteries when their levels are too high. Diabetes can cause an individual's low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to increase while their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreases. The American Heart Association warns about a condition called diabetic dyslipidemia, which affects the heart. This condition makes patients more susceptible to high cholesterol and increased triglycerides. Managing blood sugar is key to preventing damage from this condition.

Unhealthy Weight

Weight is frequently related to both diabetes and heart disease. If individuals are obese or overweight, it can be more difficult for them to manage diabetes. In addition, these individuals may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Thankfully, many individuals can address an unhealthy weight by following a healthy eating plan based on calories. Caloric intake is the single biggest factor affecting body weight, though genetics also plays a significant role. For instance, individuals may be genetically predisposed toward weighing more or less. Genetic factors can also affect an individual's metabolism. This can make it easier or harder to lose weight.

If individuals restrict calories too much, they will not be able to sustain their lifestyle and will damage their metabolism. This may lead them to regain the weight they lost. In addition, following strict diet plans can be damaging if they do not contain all the necessary nutrients. Ultimately, individuals must always talk to their doctor before starting a new diet or weight loss plan.

Blocked Coronary Artery

A blocked coronary artery is a result of coronary artery disease. Of course, this is a type of heart disease. It develops when the main vessels that bring blood to the heart become damaged. A combination of inflammation and plaque causes the arteries to become narrow or fully blocked. When these passages are blocked or narrowed, it causes less blood to flow to your chest. This can make it difficult to breathe and cause chest pain. If the artery is completely blocked, individuals may have a heart attack, which can be fatal if not treated immediately.

Coronary artery disease can have a huge impact on the overall prognosis of diabetes patients. Specifically, individuals are more likely to suffer severe symptoms and potentially fatal complications if they have both diabetes and coronary artery disease.

Increased Risk Of Death

Unfortunately, another connection between heart disease and diabetes is that patients are at an increased risk of death from either condition if they have both. The chances of developing fatal complications are higher. This is because diabetes can make heart disease worse, and heart disease can then make it more difficult for individuals to control their blood sugar. Due to this, it is important for patients to manage diabetes early and be proactive about treatment. It is also crucial for them to monitor their heart health with routine testing.

If patients have concerns about their heart health, they may be able to treat them using medication and lifestyle changes. When individuals have diabetes, their risk of death from cardiovascular issues like heart failure and heart attacks is higher. There is also a risk of dying from conditions specific to diabetes, such as diabetic ketoacidosis. Researchers have found that early detection and treatment of heart disease and diabetes are essential in managing the ongoing risk of mortality.

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