Warning Signs of Heart Disease for Diabetics

About 610,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, are at a higher risk for developing heart disease. A recent press release from the World Heart Federation stated that diabetics are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than people without diabetes. High blood pressure, unstable blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol are all common complications diabetics face that also contribute to a decline in cardiovascular health.

Since heart disease is so widespread among Americans and especially diabetics, it’s essential to understand and recognize the warning signs of heart disease. Detecting these symptoms, however, can be difficult. Often these cautionary signals are overlooked or mistaken for less serious illnesses.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

One prevalent warning sign of heart disease is angina, or chest pain. This can include a feeling of heaviness, burning or a squeezing sensation in the chest. The pain is occasionally felt in other areas of the body, such as the arms, shoulders, neck, throat, jaw or back.

Another sign of poor cardiovascular health is atherosclerosis. This is the narrowing or blocking of the major arteries due to plaque buildup, which makes it more difficult for blood to move to and from the heart. Atherosclerosis often leads to coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease.

Other symptoms include:

  • Sudden fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Palpitations of the heart
  • Increased heart rate
  • Unexplained anxiety

Maintaining Good Cardiovascular Health

Heart disease is easier to treat when detected early. Speaking with a doctor when signs of heart disease emerge and making healthy lifestyle changes can reverse the deadly effects of poor cardiovascular health.

Some lifestyle strategies that can help prevent health disease include quitting smoking, consistent exercise, having a good diet and getting regular health screenings.

Sources: American Heart Association, FH Foundation, Norton HC, Mayo Clinic

Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Flickr

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