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Diabetes And Heart Disease - What's The Link?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Vivek Baliga B 90% (50ratings)
MBBS, MRCP (UK), PG Diploma In Lipid Management, MBA (Healthcare)
Cardiologist, Bangalore  •  20years experience
Diabetes And Heart Disease - What's The Link?

Suffering from diabetes does not only mean that you need to be careful about what you eat. Diabetes is a condition that involves lots of risks. You may have to revamp the lifestyle, apart from diet restrictions. Regular exercises, stress-free attitude, and quitting smoking and drinking are mandatory. Your complete system can be affected by diabetes, and most importantly, your heart can be at risk. Yes, your chances of getting affected by heart diseases are higher when you are a diabetic. But, this does not mean you will suffer from cardiovascular diseases for sure. You have ways to keep your heart healthy. You need to keep the blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels, and the cholesterol levels under control for a healthy heart.

What is the link?

Blood vessels and the nerves in the body are affected when you are diabetic. There are blood vessels and nerves that control the heart, and they too are damaged. Obviously, you end up with cardiovascular diseases in such cases. Even in young adults who are diabetic, the risk of developing heart diseases is higher. People with diabetes have 2 times the risk of developing heart diseases, compared with people who are not a diabetic. However, you can always rely on certain methods to keep the risks down. For this, getting to know the factors that can add to the risk level is essential.

Factors that can double the risk: Smoking narrows the blood vessels and can increase the risk of heart diseases. If you smoke and if you are diabetic, you increase the risks at an alarming rate. It can also lead to amputation, as smoking can affect the blood vessels in the legs. If you are diabetic and do not keep the blood pressure levels under control, your heart works a lot to pump the blood. A heart attack can be on the cards when the heart muscles are overworked or stressed. LDL cholesterol, when not kept under the tab, can lead to heart diseases. Coupled with diabetics, your chances of being affected by heart diseases are doubled in such cases. Obesity is related to a range of diseases that includes cardiovascular diseases. When you are obese, you also develop diabetes faster.

How to stay healthy: When you want to stay healthy and maintain your heart functioning with ease, there are certain things you should never forget. Keep a track on your A1C number. This is not for the single test you take, but monitor the A1C levels for 3 months, and check if the resulting number is healthy.

  • Ensure your blood pressure level is lower than 140/90 mm/Hg.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Processed, fatty, oily and junk foods should never find a place on your plate.
  • Physical activities should be spread over the day. For instance, take a morning walk, and try cycling in the noon.
  • Climb the stairs.
  • Avoid sitting for long hours.
  • Get adequate sleep.

It is essential to get treatment for diabetes and heart diseases. Stick to the instructions of your healthcare team. Simply bringing in healthy habits can’t help. Take tests advised by your doctor and never skip the appointments.

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