What are the Heart Health Risk Factors for Diabetics?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 16, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Patients with diabetes are more likely to experience a heart disease and stroke.
  • Know the steps to control the other risk factors that can lead to a heart diseas. 

Patients with diabetes are more likely to experience a heart disease and stroke. Also, many people with diabetes have other conditions that increase their chance of developing a heart disease or a stroke. These conditions are called risk factors. One of the risk factors for heart diseases include a family history of heart disease. If one or more members of your family have had a heart attack at an early age (before age 55 for men or 65 for women), you may be at an increased risk.

You can’t change the fact that heart disease runs in your family, but you can take steps to control the other risk factors that can lead to a heart disease including:

Having Central Obesity

Central obesity means carrying extra weight around the waist, as opposed to the hips. A waist measurement of more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women means you have central obesity. Your risk of heart disease is higher because abdominal fat can increase the production of LDL (bad) cholesterol, the type of blood fat that can be deposited on the inside of blood vessel walls.

Having Abnormal Blood Fat (Cholesterol) Levels

  • LDL cholesterol can build up inside your blood vessels, leading to narrowing and hardening of your arteries: the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Arteries can then become blocked. Therefore, high levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk of getting heart disease.
  • Triglycerides are another type of blood fat that can raise your risk of heart disease when the levels are high.
  • HDL (good) cholesterol removes deposits from inside your blood vessels and takes them to the liver for removal. Low levels of HDL cholesterol increase your risk for heart disease.

Having High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, your heart must work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems.


Smoking doubles your risk of getting a heart disease. Stopping smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Smoking also increases the risk of other long-term complications, such as eye problems. In addition, smoking can damage the blood vessels in your legs and increase the risk of amputation.

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