How Does Diabetes Affect Your Heart?

People who have either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes can develop heart disease as a result. When too much sugar is present in a person's blood, the walls of blood vessels can become damaged, allowing plaque to form on the inner surfaces of the walls. When plaque builds up, there is a narrowing in the vessels, and the person's blood may not be able to circulate properly or flow to the heart, which can result in a heart attack.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack

According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack than those without the disease. Diabetics are also more likely to die as a result of having a heart attack.

Diabetics are prone to silent heart attacks, which have no obvious symptoms and can thus easily go unnoticed. High blood sugar levels can damage nerve endings that normally feel pain. If a diabetic with nerve damage is developing heart problems, he or she may not notice some of the early symptoms, such as chest pain or indigestion. This person may even have a heart attack and feel little pain due to nerve damage.

Preventing Heart Disease

Diabetics can avoid having heart attacks by keeping their blood sugar levels under control. This requires a change in diet and careful monitoring of their blood glucose levels to make sure they are within the normal range.

Some diabetics do not take their disease seriously and do not realize how many problems could be avoided by simply keeping their blood sugar in the normal range. If diet and exercise do not get glucose levels under control, doctors usually prescribe medications that can help the patient.

If you are diabetic, you should follow your doctor's suggestions carefully. It is also important to have regular visits with the doctor who is handling your diabetes care. Your doctor will carefully monitor your cholesterol to make sure that it is not high, and if it is, there are medications available that can lower it.

Dietary changes are also effective in lowering cholesterol. Diabetic diets usually avoid large servings of red meat, butter, whole fat milk, and other saturated fats that are known to raise cholesterol. Sweets and sugar in the diet should be avoided since these can raise triglyceride levels, a type of cholesterol that is also known to contribute to heart disease.

Source: Mayo Clinic
Photo: Pexels

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