Learn what you should know about the close relationship between diabetes and heart disease – and what you can do to control it
Diabetes is the name given to a group of diseases or ailments that arise from high blood glucose and problems with the insulin hormone. It is a fairly common disease, and while not everyone is naturally prone to suffer from it, a lot of people are exposed to the risk just by the way of life they lead. Among the most common types of diabetes (Pre-diabetes, Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational) Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are the two most common health problems that appear in adults. In fact, the National Heart Association estimated that around 65% of people living with diabetes will unfortunately die from some type of heart disease or a stroke.
These statistics are pretty scary but, to be able to understand why it happens, we need to take a look at the close relationship between diabetes and heart disease.
Diabetes, as stated above, is an ailment that causes abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. These abnormal levels have several chain reactions in the system, the worst one being the damage it causes to the walls of the arteries.
The addition of these fatty deposits build up, blocking the coronary arteries; this later develops into coronary heart diseases, which can lead to angina and heart attacks.
Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are the most serious concerns a diabetic patient can face, because the first is such a strong ailment that it can easily and almost always result in damage to the arteries, and therefore, the heart.
It is estimated that someone suffering from diabetes is 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease, or suffer and die from a heart problem or heart complications.
One of the main approaches medical experts take is recommending to their diabetic patients to check and treat their heart disease risk factors as aggressively and strongly as people who have suffered from heart attacks in the past without suffering from diabetes.
With this close relationship between diabetes and heart disease, and the undeniable link of developing into deadly health problems, it is imperative that patients get informed accordingly and start taking the necessary precautions to avoid heart attacks, strokes and to prolong a healthier way of life.
Depending on the patient’s health history, current medical condition and overall lifestyle, medical professionals may recommend aspirin therapy to reduce the risks of clots that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
In other cases, diet and exercise is recommended not only as a preventive way (because what you eat becomes extremely important) but also because having an active routine and a balanced food intake actually improves blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and heart blood pressure.
Some patients respond very well to specific medicines that are prescribed for life in order to keep them healthy, while others – in more advanced cases and stages – require surgical procedures to help them regain stability.
While not everyone is at high risk of suffering from diabetes, there are a lot of measures that can avoid a health scare and prevent these diseases from arising later in life.
Some of the things people with diabetes tendencies can do to take care of themselves include:
- Maintain a healthy weight, and lose weight if you are considered obese
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet
- Quit smoking
- Work to reduce daily stress
- Control blood pressure (with medication if necessary)
- Maintain a good cholesterol level
- Cut back on sugar, salt and alcohol intake
While these are mostly related to a general lifestyle, it is also important to have regular medical check-ups and to follow the guidelines provided my medical experts.