Diabetes And Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Your doctor has told you that you are pre-diabetic and need to begin watching your weight and diet before it turns into type 2 diabetes. Another motivation for you is that this disease increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. As you consider the instructions your doctor has given you to reverse this movement toward being a diabetic, here is how you'll also be reducing your chance of a heart attack.

How Diabetes Contributes to Heart Disease

Diabetes affects your chances of getting heart disease directly because of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels become too high, fatty deposits can be placed on the walls of blood vessels. This causes a condition called atherosclerosis, where the blood vessels become narrower and restrict the flow of blood through them. This reduces the amount of blood that gets to the heart muscle and brain, which leads to heart attacks and stroke.

Indirectly, people with diabetes also tend to have one or more of the following conditions which increase the risk of heart disease:

  • Hypertension - Uncontrolled high blood pressure overworks the heart muscle. If it also becomes starved of oxygen due to reduced blood flow to the muscle, chest pain and a heart attack can happen. Heart doctors are especially interested in keeping the blood pressure under control in a person with diabetes.
  • Cholesterol and Triglyceride Problems - People with diabetes tend to have high bad cholesterol levels, low good cholesterol levels and high triglycerides. This combination can lead to coronary artery disease, which is a narrowing or total blockage of the blood vessels that feed the heart. This also leads to a heart attack.
  • Weight Problems - Diabetics can become overweight because of a resistance to the effects of insulin in the body and an increased concentration of insulin in the blood. The high insulin level causes the production of fat tissue and can produce fatty deposits in blood vessels.

Control is Key to Reducing Your Risk of Heart Disease

If you can control your diabetes and all of the other conditions, your risk of a heart issue decreases and stays low. While medication is available in some cases for quick or short-term control, the following lifestyle changes are necessary to keep the risks permanently low for the remainder of your life.

  • Blood Sugar Levels - Adopt a low carbohydrate, low sugar diabetic diet to keep your blood glucose levels low. Medication is available to lower the blood sugar while you gain control with your diet.
  • Hypertension - High blood pressure medication can be taken long term, but losing weight, increasing exercise and watching your dietary cholesterol will maintain your blood pressure with little or no medication.
  • Cholesterol and Triglycerides - A healthy diet to control high blood pressure will also address cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood.
  • Weight Problems - A diet to control the above conditions, plus an increase in exercise will allow you to lose weight and maintain a healthy level.

If your doctor has told you that you are on the edge of becoming a diabetic, takes his suggestions and turn it around before you are faced with multiple issues, some of which will affect the health of your heart. For more information about heart disease, visit Alpert Zales & Castro Pediatric Cardiology.