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Since blood is part of the cardiovascular system, and diabetes is a condition in which the level of glucose in the blood is higher than normal, then is certainly some relationship between the two.
Diabetes and cardiovascular system diseases has been recognized to be closely related to each other due to the so-called insulin resistance syndrome or metabolic syndrome. Some examples of the commonly diagnosed cardiovascular disease are coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
Diabetes is considered a major risk factor in cardiovascular diseases. Other factors that contribute to the possibility of acquiring cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients include hypertension, smoking, and dyslipidemia.
How Diabetes Causes Cardiovascular Problems?
- Hypertension: Hypertension in diabetes is considered a major contributor to the increase in mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Diabetic patients, especially those with Type 2, need to always have their blood pressure checked every visit to the doctor. Self-monitoring at home is also a must to maintain and control the rise of blood pressure. The American Diabetes Association recommends a target blood pressure of not more than 130/85 mm Hg to maintain a good level of blood pressure.
- Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis is the stiffening or hardening of the artery walls while Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of the artery because of plaque build-up. Atherosclerosis is a form of hardening of the blood vessels/arteries, caused by fatty deposits and local tissue reaction in the walls of the arteries. Diabetes is a documented high risk factor for the development of both Atherosclerosis, Arteriosclerosis. Heart disease and stroke, arising mainly from the effects of atherosclerosis, account for 65 percent of deaths among diabetics.
- Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia means high (hyper) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes, when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin. There is a growing recognition that diabetes belongs to a special category of risk factors because it markedly increases risk of CVD. This increase is partly the result of the pernicious effects of persistent hyperglycemia on the vasculature and partly due to the coexistence of other metabolic risk factors.
- Smoking: Smoking has been determined dangerous to our health. Studies show that smoking indeed increase risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients.
- Atrial Fibrillation: Atrial Fibrillation means an irregular and rapid heart rate which can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and other cardiac issues. Individuals with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation. This risk is higher among patients with a longer duration of treated diabetes and poorer glycemic control.
Individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes in combination with one or more of these risk factors are at even greater risk of heart disease or stroke. However, by managing their risk factors, patients with diabetes may avoid or delay the development of heart and blood vessel disease. Your health care provider will do periodic testing to assess whether you have developed any of these risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can ask a free question.