Diabetes and Heart Disease

How does diabetes cause heart disease?

Having diabetes will double your risk for heart disease or stroke. High blood sugar levels over time can lead to increase to deposits the fact in site the blood vessel walls. These deposits will slow down the blood flow increasing the chance of clogging and hardening of blood vessels.

What are the risk factors that will increase my chance of heart disease when I have diabetes already?

High cholesterol levels. LDL-cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol can build up inside your blood vessels causing narrowing and blockage. Also high triglycerides or low levels of good cholesterol (HDL) can increase the risk.
High blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure, your heart must work harder to pump blood which can strain the heart and came damage blood vessels.

Smoking will double your risk of getting heart disease. Smoking can cause narrowing of the blood vessels that will also lead to other diseases including risk of stroke, eye problems, and circulation problems in legs increasing the risk for amputation.
Central obesity. A waist measurement of more than 40 inches for men and more than 35 inches for women is considered central obesity. Carrying extra weight around the waist as opposed to the hips will increase the risk of heart disease because abdominal fat can increase the production of bad cholesterol.

What is metabolic syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that are mentioned above including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. All these risk factors can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What can I do to prevent heart disease?

Make diet changes. Include at least 14 g of fiber daily for every 1000 calories consumed. Cut down on saturated fats by reducing the amount of meat, poultry skin, butter, dairy products with fat, shortening, lard, palm or coconut oil. Keep cholesterol in your diet to less than 300 milligram a day. Cholesterol is found in meat, dairy products and eggs.
Limit your intake of trans-fats which are generally high in crackers, cookies, snack foods, commercially prepared baked goods, cake mixes, microwave popcorn, fried foods, salad dressings and other foods made with partially hydrogenated oil.

If you smoke, quit.

Studies have shown that taking low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of heart disease. But, not everyone is a candidate. Check with your health care provider if you should take aspirin.

What types of heart disease or vascular disease can occur in people with the diabetes?

How will I know whether I have heart disease?

You may have chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating or lightheadedness when you are exercising or even at rest. People with diabetes need to be careful as the heart attack may not have any chest pain due to nerve damage caused by diabetes. They may just have shortness of breath, nausea or back or jaw pain.

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