How Does Diabetes Affect the Heart

Diabetes is a leading cause for deaths around the globe and it gets doubly dangerous when diabetics get heart disease. A look at how diabetes and heart health go hand in hand as a lethal combination.

Arka Roy Chowdhury
DiabetesWritten by: Arka Roy ChowdhuryPublished at: Jun 24, 2013Updated at: Jun 24, 2013
How Does Diabetes Affect the Heart

woman with blood glucose monitor

Those with diabetes have the possibility of getting heart disease, diabetes can affect the heart, and it is one of the leading causes for deaths around the world. In fact those who have diabetes are more likely to get a heart disease in comparison to those who don’t, and so matters get worse. Statistics say that heart disease strikes people with diabetes almost twice as often as people who don’t have it, and it is known that people with diabetes have the tendency to develop heart disease at a younger age than those without it. Strikingly, two out of three people with diabetes die either from heart disease or stroke.

[Read: Causes of Diabetes]

There could be two types of heart diseases in people who have diabetes:

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

This is the slow narrowing of the arteries in the heart that happens due to the fatty deposits called plaques. If a cholesterol plaque suddenly gets ruptured then the resulting blockage in one of the heart’s arteries can cause a heart attack.

Congestive Heart Failure

This is known as a chronic condition wherein the heart loses its ability to pump the blood effectively, and shortness of breath with exertion and leg swelling are some of its main symptoms that indicates a heart failure.
Now the heart conditions are often found to be related, like as in the case of CAD which is a major cause of congestive heart failure. Also, high blood pressure which is common among diabetics can contribute to CAD and heart failure.

[Read: Understanding Congestive Heart Failure]

Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Diabetes

There are certain risk factors that contribute to the risk of a heart disease for people with diabetes, these are:
•    Abdominal Obesity – waist line greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men
•    Abnormal Cholesterol Levels – low HDL which is the good cholesterol and high LDL, which is the bad cholesterol, or a high triglyceride level
•    Elevated blood pressure levels
•    Smoking
•    Family history of heart disease
•    High saturated fat and cholesterol diet

It is important that you consult your doctor if you have diabetes and try to identify these personal risk factors.

[Read: Heart Health Risk Factors for Diabetes]

How Diabetes Affects the Heart

A diabetic is faced with many problems, and diabetes basically affects nearly all the body parts, from feet to the brain. Heart diseases are very serious for a diabetic, and it affects the circulation in the body. Those who are not interested in taking care of this disease are often found to have high amount of lipids flowing through their blood vessels and these lipids may then clog and narrow the vessel walls. This will then lead to atherosclerosis. This in turn could then lead to myocardial infarction or, in common terms, a heart attack.

Read more articles on Diabetes Causes and Risks