Heart Health

The Effects of Diabetes on Your Heart

Diabetes is a chronic condition that can seriously affect your health, including your heart. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.

Professional research studies estimate that over 10 percent of deaths involving people with diabetes are directly related to heart issues. Diabetes can damage the large arteries, making them stiffer and less able to handle the additional stress placed on them when blood pressure increases. It can also reduce the efficiency of how well our heart pumps and causes blockages in our coronary arteries. Let's break down the impact of diabetes on your heart.

The Link Between Diabetes and Heart Health

For those with diabetes, managing their blood sugar levels is essential to staying healthy. Unfortunately, diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart, making it more challenging to manage your health. People with diabetes are also more likely to have other conditions that raise their risk for heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, too much LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and high triglycerides. High glucose levels in your bloodstream from diabetes can damage the small blood vessels throughout your body, including those that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. This is called diabetic cardiomyopathy, affecting how well your heart works, making it difficult to pump effectively. Damage to these small vessels also increases your risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. If left untreated, this buildup narrows those arteries and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. In addition, people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure strains on the heart muscles, increasing the risk of developing CAD, stroke, or heart attack. Furthermore, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can leave us more susceptible to infections such as endocarditis (a condition of the lining within the heart) and even cardiomyopathy (a disease that affects the heart's muscle tissue).

Treating Diabetes To Protect Your Heart Health

The good news is that keeping tight control over your diabetes can help reduce these risks of developing severe cardiovascular issues. The most important step you can take if you have diabetes is to control your glucose levels by following a healthy diet and exercise routine.

1. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting processed foods will help keep your glucose level in check.

2. In contrast, physical activity helps strengthen the body's natural defense against inflammation caused by elevated glucose levels.

3. Additionally, monitoring your weight and maintaining a healthy BMI (body mass index) will help reduce stress on your cardiovascular system, which may be further impacted by obesity or excessive weight gain due to poor diet choices or lack of physical activity.

4. Finally, quitting smoking or avoiding smoking altogether will lessen the chance of developing blocked arteries or other smoking-related complications, which could strain an already compromised system from having uncontrolled diabetes over time.

Regular Check-ups Are Crucial For Health Management

Maintaining regular checkups is essential to health management, especially for those with diabetes. Early detection and proactive treatment can be critical in avoiding permanent damage or more severe conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, or hypertension (high blood pressure). With the proper care plan prescribed by a knowledgeable physician, it's possible to avoid plaque buildup in our cardiovascular system, which could lead to cardiac arrest if left unchecked.

Diabetes is a complex condition that requires careful management if you want to protect yourself against serious health complications like cardiovascular problems later on down the line. Fortunately, there are steps you can take today to keep tight control over this chronic condition so you don't have to worry about developing CAD or hypertension later on down the line. If you have been diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, talk with your primary care physician and cardiologist about how best to protect yourself against cardiovascular issues now, so you don't suffer from them in the future!

Respectfully yours,