Why Does Diabetes Control Impact My Heart
People with higher blood sugars or uncontrolled diabetes have more sugar in their blood pumping through the body, explained Madilyn Sheerer, RD, CDCES, certified diabetes specialist at Franciscan Physician Network Diabetes & Endocrinology Specialists in Indianapolis. If there are high amounts of sugar in the blood, its syrupy in a way and difficult to get to your tips of your fingers and toes as well.
High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and the heart and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Its like how a canyon is made. Pumping through, it can damage things along the way. Its why high blood sugar affects the nerves as well.
Three Ways To Decrease Your Risk For Heart Disease
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.
The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:
- Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
- Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
|systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.
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What You Need To Know About Neuropathy
You cant always avoid neuropathy, but lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk even if you have diabetes.
Keeping your blood glucose levels in a healthy range is extremely important. You can do this by maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. Also, avoid smoking and limit your alcohol intake.
If you think you may have autonomic neuropathy, watch for these symptoms:
- Dizziness or fainting when you stand.
- Urinary problems like incontinence or inability to fully empty your bladder.
- Sexual difficulties like erectile dysfunction or low libido.
- Digestion difficulties like appetite loss, difficulty swallowing and heartburn.
- Sweating too much or hardly at all.
- Intolerance to exercise.
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment can help slow nerve damage and repair problems. Treatment options for neuropathy may include:
- Pain medication.
- Occupational therapy for coping with pain and loss of function.
- Aids like braces to increase mobility and reduce pain.
- Nutritional changes.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, have your doctor screen you annually for autonomic neuropathy. If you have Type 1 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends annual screenings starting five years after your diagnosis.
Other Ways To Prevent Heart Disease
Here are some things you can do to take care of your heart and prevent heart disease:
- Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly
It is essential to regularly check your blood pressure and ensure it is within the normal range. If you have abnormally high blood pressure, your doctor will prescribe medications for you and advise you on the best practice to lower your blood pressure. The earlier you treat high blood pressure, the safer for you.
- Avoid Stress
Many reasons can be responsible for stress, but stress is dangerous for your heart and your health. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, anxiety, and alcoholism, and other harmful lifestyles. Therefore, if you notice you have a stress problem, you should immediately work on it and find ways to manage your stress properly. Exercise can help, and there are also medications that you can take to relieve stress. You can also visit a counsellor for help.
- Live a Healthy Lifestyle
For overall health, and especially for a good heart condition, you should eat a balanced diet and avoid food that can raise the cholesterol level in the blood. You must also exercise regularly and rest properly. If you smoke, you must quit it. It would help if you also cut down your alcohol and caffeine consumption. Likewise, it would help if you stayed out of any form of drug abuse.
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Diabetes And Cardiovascular Risk
As youre most likely aware, if you dont take good care of your type 2 diabetes, you can develop several complications, including heart disease. We dont say that to frighten you or to make you focus on the negative aspects of type 2 diabetes: its simply that cardiovascular complications are possible when you have diabetes, but there are ways that you can work to prevent them.
Cholesterol plays a big part in cardiovascular disease, so when you have diabetes, you need to be particularly vigilant about your cholesterol numbers. Taking good care of your heart is part of taking good care of your diabetes.
Cardiovascular Complications with DiabetesCardiovascular complications are possible long-term macrovascular complications of diabetes, and these complications include heart attacks and strokes.
Routinely high blood glucose levels can cause damage to your blood vessels. Therefore, if you dont have good control of your blood glucose levels on a daily basisif you regularly swing high and lowthen you could be creating long-lasting heart problems.
Again, thats not said to frighten youbut to help you realize the important of monitoring your blood glucose levels and working hard to keep them in your goal ranges. Talk to your doctor about your goal ranges and how you can improve your blood glucose levels on a daily basis.
LDL cholesterol forms plaque, so it stands to reason that the more LDL cholesterol you have in your blood, the more plaque youre likely to create.
How Does Exercise Help Heart Health And Diabetes Control
Researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes who increased their exercise by just 38 minutes a day over a two-year period significantly reduced their blood sugar, triglycerides, total cholesterol and blood pressure, resulting in a two-fold decrease in the risk of heart disease.
Like any other muscle, the heart gets stronger with exercise. If you work out regularly, your heart muscle will grow a little larger and stronger, allowing it to move more blood with each beat. As a result, it takes fewer beats to get you through the day. Your heart rate drops, and your heart will enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Even more important, exercise helps protect your arteries — where heart attacks get their start. Regular exercise removes LDL cholesterol from your blood. If you have too much of this fatty substance, it starts sticking to the walls of your arteries, causing arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. If the arteries feeding the heart become clogged — a condition called coronary heart disease — a heart attack may be just around the corner. The protection doesn’t stop there. Exercise also increases your level of HDL cholesterol, a substance that helps keep your arteries clear.
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Diabetes And Heart Attack
Here well explain what can happen in your body to cause these heart complications.
Lets start with the major blood vessels in your body, these are your:
- arteries they carry blood away from your heart
- veins they carry blood back to your heart.
If these arteries and veins get damaged, it can be harder for blood to flow around the body and get to the areas its needed.
If your cholesterol is too high, then the extra fat in your blood sticks to the walls of your blood vessels. Over time, this fat hardens and is known as plaque. Hard plaque can block up the blood vessels, which makes the space narrower and leaves less room for blood to flow.
This is called arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis and is the most common cause of a heart attack.
In the narrower space, blood flow slows down and causes some of the blood cells to group together and clot. If a blood clot breaks away, it will travel through your arteries and veins until it reaches a section too narrow to pass through, making it partially or completely blocked.
This can starve the heart of oxygen and nutrients and this is what causes a heart attack.
High blood pressure
Not only does the blood struggle to flow through the blood vessels, but over time atherosclerosis makes the walls of your blood vessels more rigid and less elastic. This can lead to high blood pressure or make high blood pressure worse.
How Does Diabetes Affect The Heart
Research has shown that people with Type 2 diabetes are up to four times more likely than the general population to die from cardiovascular causes. The fact that your health care professional recognizes the connection between these chronic, serious conditions is valuable. You can proactively take steps to reduce your future heart disease risk rather than only managing blood sugar levels.
Although you say that you do not have heart disease today, diabetes can damage blood vessels and make the heart muscle stiffer. This eventually leads to problems with fluid retention and heart failure.
People with diabetes also have higher risk of premature, accelerated coronary artery disease. This means that compared to those patients who do not have diabetes, the walls of the arteries have more fatty deposits and begin to harden earlier and without many warnings, making treatment difficult and causing the condition to progress faster. Subsequently, people with diabetes have an increased risk of recurrent heart attacks and scarring of the heart muscle, which increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.
After a heart attack, the heart muscle does not heal as well as in people who do not have diabetes. Also, the risk of complications, such as developing heart failure, is significantly higher.
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Sexual Health And Fertility
Diabetes-related damage to blood vessels and the autonomic nervous system may have a negative effect on sexual function and the bodyâs ability to send and respond to sexual stimuli.
Erectile dysfunction is more than three times more likely to develop in men with diabetes, and it can appear earlier than in those without the condition.
Other ways in which diabetes can affect peopleâs confidence in their sex life include:
- the conditionâs impact on mental health
- worry that sex may lower glucose levels, leading to hypoglycemia
- uncertainty about what to do with an insulin pump
However, there are ways of overcoming all of these problems.
Learn more here about how diabetes can affect a personâs sex life and how to manage these complications.
See Your Diabetes Educator
Work with a diabetes care and education specialist for help avoiding health complications such as heart disease. Youll get support and solutions and hear about the latest advances in managing diabetes. Find out more about how diabetes education can help you take the best care of yourself. And be sure to ask your doctor for a referral if you dont already have a diabetes educator.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
What Are The Warning Signs Of Heart Attack And Stroke
- pain or pressure in your chest that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
- pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or shoulders, or your back, neck, or jaw
- shortness of breath
- indigestion or nausea
- feeling very tired
Treatment works best when it is given right away. Warning signs can be different in different people. You may not have all the listed symptoms.
Women may experience chest pain, nausea, and vomiting feel very tired and have pain that spreads to the back, neck, throat, arms, shoulders, or jaw. People with diabetes-related nerve damage may not notice any chest pain.
If you have angina, its important to know how and when to seek medical treatment.
- weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
- confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
- dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- sudden, severe headache
If you have any one of these warning signs, call 9-1-1. You can help prevent permanent damage by getting to a hospital within an hour of a stroke.
How Do I Know If I Am At A Risk Of Diabetes
While diabetes and heart disease are two different conditions, people who have diabetes are twice at risk of developing heart disease compared to those without diabetes. Hence, being at risk of diabetes automatically means being at a higher risk of developing heart diseases.
The following factors can put you at risk of diabetes:
- Obesity: Diabetes have been found to be common among people that are overweight and those suffering from obesity
- Smoking and alcoholism: Tobacco smokers are at higher risk of developing diabetes than non-smokers. The same goes for people who take alcoholic drinks in excess.
- Bad Diet: Since a high level of cholesterol can increase the risk of diabetes, eating food that is high in cholesterol is linked with the disease. Excess sodium and food high in saturated fat and trans fat can also increase the risk of diabetes.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Regular exercise and physical activities can help to reduce body weight and lower the risk of diabetes. In contrast, living a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of the disease.
Get A Free Diabetes Meal Plan
Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.
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How Can I Prevent Kidney Disease And Other Problems From Diabetes
Controlling blood sugar is the best way to protect your eyes, heart, nerves, feet, and kidneys. It lowers your risk for all health problems from diabetes. This is true for all people with diabetes with or without kidney damage. Ask your healthcare provider what you need to do to control your blood sugar.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Heart
People who have either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes can develop heart disease as a result. When too much sugar is present in a person’s blood, the walls of blood vessels can become damaged, allowing plaque to form on the inner surfaces of the walls. When plaque builds up, there is a narrowing in the vessels, and the person’s blood may not be able to circulate properly or flow to the heart, which can result in a heart attack.
Increased Risk of Heart Attack
According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack than those without the disease. Diabetics are also more likely to die as a result of having a heart attack.
Diabetics are prone to silent heart attacks, which have no obvious symptoms and can thus easily go unnoticed. High blood sugar levels can damage nerve endings that normally feel pain. If a diabetic with nerve damage is developing heart problems, he or she may not notice some of the early symptoms, such as chest pain or indigestion. This person may even have a heart attack and feel little pain due to nerve damage.
Preventing Heart Disease
Diabetics can avoid having heart attacks by keeping their blood sugar levels under control. This requires a change in diet and careful monitoring of their blood glucose levels to make sure they are within the normal range.
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Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon campaign.