Diabetes is a very scary degenerative condition partly because it puts you at risk for so many other illnesses and heart disease is just one of the many things that can affect diabetics. But what is the connection between diabetes and heart disease and how can you protect yourself from getting it? Let’s find out.
What Is The Connection Between Diabetes And Heart Disease?
The first study proved that there was a connection between diabetes and heart disease was the Framingham Heart Study. The studies showed that apart from factors like smoking, high blood pressure, hypertension etc, diabetics are also prone to heart disease.
With more research conducted on this topic, we found that:
- 68% of people older than 65 years die of some form of heart disease and 16% of people die of stroke
- Adults with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to get some form of heart disease even if their blood sugar levels are normal
But why are diabetics so prone to heart disease? It’s because:
- Over time the veins and arteries of diabetics are damaged and compromised. This is why most diabetics have high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts a lot of strain on the heart, and when it’s combined with diabetes it is a deadly combination
- Diabetics, especially type 2 diabetics, are also prone to cholesterol issues. With an increased buildup of bad cholesterol in the body, there is an increased risk of heart disease
- Many type two diabetics also struggle with obesity. Obesity combined with diabetes also increases the risk of heart disease
- Unfortunately, many type 2 diabetics get diabetes because of living a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle puts a lot of pressure on your organs including your heart and increases the chance heart diseases
- Diabetics are prone to infections which makes them susceptible to endocarditis or heart infection
- If you constantly have high blood sugar it damages blood vessels and nerves that control the heart thus making it very difficult for the heart to function normally.
Symptoms Of Heart Disease
There is a range of heart conditions that come under heart disease, all of which can affect diabetics. Many forms of cardiovascular disease can go undetected for years and the person can get a severe heart attack as a result of it.
Hence it is important to not ignore any symptoms of heart disease:
- Chest pain
- Tightness or pressure in the chest
- Rapid or slow heartbeat
- Extreme fatigue after mild exertion
- Swelling in the legs and abdomen
- Pain in the abdomen
- Back pain
- Neck pain
You should never ignore chest pain and visit the doctor immediately to reduce the chances of heart attack or angina attack. It has also been noticed that men are more likely to get chest pain whereas women are likely to get nausea, acidity, back pain, neck pain etc.
We tend to take chest pain much more seriously than other symptoms of heart disease because the other symptoms can be linked to a vast array of illnesses.
If you have recurring symptoms it is important to get checked with a good doctor and conduct tests like ECGs to rule out heart disease.
How Can Diabetics Prevent Heart Disease?
As scary as it may sound, heart disease is easily preventable and manageable if you bring attention to it at the right time. Here are some ways to prevent heart disease:
The Framingham Heart study linked above also showed that those who exercised even when they had high bp, diabetes, or inherited heart disease, were less likely to get most conditions if they exercised every day.
Hence it is very important for diabetics to be on a healthy diet and exercise every day. If you are disciplined with your exercise, you are less likely to be affected by any kind of heart disease.
If even a little exercise leads to fatigue, coughing or chest pain, it is a good reason to make an appointment with your doctor.
Remember to wear proper shoes and socks while exercising and throughout the day to prevent the occurrence of infections, which leads us to the next topic:
2. Get Timely Dental Check-Ups
Tooth infections and decay are the most common reasons for heart infections so it’s vital that you get a routine dental checkup done from a reputed dentist.
If we keep all kinds of infections at bay, it also leads to better immunity and healthy organ function.
3. Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control
This is perhaps the most vital way to avoid heart disease. If you keep your blood sugar within the proper range, your veins and arteries will be less strained, your blood will be clear and your organs will be oxygenated.
This will reduce pressure on your heart and you will have fewer chances of developing heart disease.
If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, we suggest that you talk to your doctor about plans to reverse type two diabetes. It can be reversed if you follow a strict exercise routine and diet. But this should not be done without a doctors help.
Are you diabetic or have a high risk for heart disease? What have you done to keep the condition at bay? We would love to hear your thoughts.