What Does Diabetes Do to Your Heart?
Diabetes is a well-known medical condition in which a person has high blood sugar, or glucose. This happens because the body’s pancreas cannot create enough insulin – the hormone that helps absorb glucose – and that creates an overabundance.
The two main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2.
- Type 1 diabetes is when your body is unable to produce diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed at a younger age and requires the patient to take insulin on a daily basis.
- The more common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, where your body doesn’t make or use insulin properly. Over 9% of Americans have diabetes, making it important to know your risk.
Diabetes and Your Heart
The reality of having diabetes is that you are twice as likely to get heart disease. Blood sugar can be damaging to your blood vessels, and since it is harder for your body to absorb glucose when you have diabetes, this elevates the damage. It can also alter the nerves in your heart that control the beating pattern.
People with diabetes have an increased risk for high blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol – all factors that can increase your risk for heart disease. Diabetes patients also tend to develop heart disease at a younger age because diabetes takes a toll on your heart and escalates the timeline.
How You Can Decrease Your Risk
Although diabetes raises your risk for certain heart conditions, there are things you can do in your daily life to mitigate that risk. As with most things, a healthy, well-balanced diet and regular exercise is a good idea when trying to improve your health and decrease your risk. Obesity is a contributor to both type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased risk for heart disease. Maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial to decrease your risk of various conditions.
It is important that you learn to monitor your glucose levels and keep your blood pressure down. Stress management is a great way to lower you blood pressure, you can also talk to your doctor about what you can avoid or add to your daily life to deal with high blood pressure. If you have diabetes, it is essential you quit smoking. Smoking both increases your chances of heart disease and narrows your blood vessels which can cause problems with diabetes.
The Bottom Line
Diabetes raises your risk of developing heart disease and having a stroke, but there are active measures you can take to decrease that risk. Talk to your doctor about how to properly manage your diabetes to regulate the amount of glucose that is in your blood stream and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
If you would like to talk to an experienced cardiologist about how to manage diabetes and your risk of heart disease, schedule an appointment with us today. The Heart House has 29, board certified cardiologists that are dedicated to ensuring their patients live the healthiest and happiest life possible.