Diabetes Can Trigger Complications of Heart Disease, Here’s the Explanation
Diabetes is often associated with the emergence of other deadly diseases. Heart disease is no exception. These two health problems are interrelated. So, how can diabetes be a trigger for heart disease? Check out the explanation below.
Diabetes Risk Triggers Heart Disease
People with diabetes are prone to complications, one of which is the heart. This is because, excess sugar levels in the blood of diabetics can eventually damage the blood vessels and nerves that control them.
Body tissues usually use sugar as a source of energy which is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. However, if you have diabetes, the sugar does not enter the liver and instead flows into the bloodstream. This is what causes blood vessel damage.
Damage to blood vessels (arteries) can slow or stop the blood supplying oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
Additional Risk Factors
High blood sugar levels are usually not the only factor that can increase the risk of heart complications in people with diabetes. The relationship between diabetes and heart disease is usually also related to other accompanying conditions, including:
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Increased pressure in the blood vessels over a long period of time can damage the blood vessel walls.
When you have hypertension and diabetes, conditions such as heart attacks and strokes double.
Diabetics tend to have low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), as well as high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
High LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to form in damaged artery walls. Meanwhile, high triglyceride levels trigger hardening of the arteries.
The combination of soaring bad cholesterol levels and decreasing good cholesterol levels is what then results in the emergence of heart disease.
Also Read: Can Being Too Busy at Work Cause Diabetes?
Diabetics who smoke have a higher risk of developing heart disease than non-smokers.
Apart from damaging the airways, cigarette smoke can create plaque buildup in the arteries which causes the arteries to narrow. This can lead to various complications, ranging from foot problems, strokes, to heart attacks.
Preventing Heart Disease in Diabetics
The previous explanation proves that diabetes is closely related to heart disease. Therefore, people with diabetes must certainly take precautions so that complications do not occur. Some things that can be done, including:
1. Implementing a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet can help protect the heart. It’s best to consume more fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
In addition, drink plenty of mineral water and limit it sweet drinks such as packaged tea, soft drinks and the like.
2. Blood Pressure Control
Controlling blood pressure can keep the heart healthy. The way to control blood pressure is by exercising regularly and avoiding foods high in fat and salt.
3. Get enough rest
Lack of sleep can lead to the risk of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart attacks. Therefore, make sleep a priority to keep your body healthy. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
Also Read: Diabetics Can Experience Hypertension, Is It Really Related?
4. Controlling Stress
Although not everyone can easily control stress, people with diabetes should avoid stress. When experiencing stress, the body will release the hormone cortisol which causes blood vessels to stiffen.
5. Routine Medical Check-Up
Routine physical examination is also necessary for people with diabetes. In addition to health conditions, doctors will usually also provide solutions on how to manage diabetes to avoid complications from other diseases.
- Anonymous, 2022. Diabetes and Your Heart. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-and-heart.html. (Accessed June 18, 2023)
- Anonymous. Diabetes and Heart Disease. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/cardiovascular_disease. (Accessed January 18, 2023)
- Anonymous. 2022. Strategies to Prevent Heart Disease. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502. (Accessed January 18, 2023)
- Murphy, Shane and Laura Goldman. 2020. Understanding the Connection Between Heart Disease and Diabetes. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/understanding-cv-disease-diabetes. (Accessed January 18, 2023)
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