Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetic patients are more prone to develop many health complications. Diabetes could be prevented with life style changes and regular exercise. It is not reversible. Due to high blood sugar level in blood, diabetic patients are more likely to develop other health complications.  
Diabetes produces hormone imbalance and changes in blood vessels and nerves. As these effects become permanent, other health complications also arise. Heart disease or cardio vascular disease is one of such health complications.

Causes and Risk Factors
The main cause of development of cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patient is that due to Diabetes blood vessels can undergo changes, such as thickening of lining of blood vessel, which could lead to cardiovascular disease.

There are many risk factors, which increases chances of developing heart diseases in patients of Diabetes.

•High blood pressure (hypertension)- Patients suffering from both hypertension and diabetes have higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. •High cholesterol and triglycerides- Diabetic patients with high level of LDL or bad cholesterol, low HDL or good cholesterol, and high triglycerides could easily develop coronary heart disease. •Obesity- Diabetic patients who are obese are also more prone to heart diseases as it could trigger high blood pressure and patient may have high fat, cholesterol and triglycerides. •Lack of physical activity- Diabetic patients with inactive lifestyle may also develop heart diseases. Weight loss and exercise could prevent or delay development of heart ailments. •Constantly Highblood sugars- If sugar level is not checked in a diabetic patient and it remains constantly high, it could lead to cardiovascular diseases by narrowing the blood vessels. •Smoking- Smoking could increase risk of heart complications in the patients of Diabetes. Symptoms

Following symptoms could easily identify presence of heart disease in a diabetic patient. Though symptoms differ for every individual patient, these are most common symptoms.

•Pain in the chest or angina •Shortness of breath •Irregular heartbeat •Swelling of ankles •Pain or discomfort in chest, shoulders, arms, jaw, or back •Sweating •Persistent nausea •Light-headedness Diabetic patients should be checked for heart disease at least once a year. Urine examination to know level of protein in urine also helps to figure out that a diabetic patient is developing heart disease.

Types of Heart and Blood Vessel Diseases in Diabetes Patients

Diabetic patients could usually develop coronary artery disease or CAD and cerebral vascular disease. They may even suffer heart failure. They may also develop peripheral arterial disease.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease may result due to hardening or thickening of blood vessel walls due to high sugar level in a diabetic patient. Narrowing of blood vessel reduces the blood supply or it may be fully cut off and could result in a heart attack.

Cerebral Vascular Disease

Cerebral vascular diseases are blood vessel disease affecting the brain. It could produce strokes and TIAs. It is produced due to narrowing, blocking, or thickening of blood vessels going to brain. Stroke may result due to sudden cut off of blood supply to the brain. It deprives brain cells of oxygen and could result into problems with speech and vision or paralysis. TIA is a result of temporary blockage of a blood vessel, which is going to brain. It could cause numbness or weakness on one side of the body. It could also cause changes in balance, vision and speech, confusion and headache.

Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when blockage of blood vessels lead to hindrance in blood supply and damaged heart muscles. Diabetic patients are at higher risk; almost double risk of having a heart failure.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Diabetic patients may also develop peripheral heart diseases. This condition is identified by narrowing or blocking the blood vessels in the legs. It increases risk of heart attack or stroke. Some patients may even need amputation of leg.


To prevent heart disease diabetic patients should get checked for heart disease annually.

Maintaining normal glucose level could prevent or delay development of heart diseases in diabetic patients.

Weight control, smoking cessation, healthy and active life style, exercises are other preventive methods for heart diseases in diabetic patients.

A balanced, nutritious, fiber-rich diet also helps in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and thus preventing heart diseases in diabetic patients.


Treatment for heart disease is a complete program with medicines, diet plan and exercises or other physical activities.

Diabetic patients suffering from heart diseases need to lower blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. They are provided for medicine for this purpose. They are advised to have a healthy meal plan and indulge in physical activities. Some patients may need surgery for correction of their heart ailments.

Diabetes and Heart Disease by JACK TAYLOR