Diabetes and Heart Disease
High blood glucose levels often lead to all sorts of problems with diabetes, and heart disease is just one of them. People with diabetes who can keep their blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels under control can lessen the risk of getting heart disease. By taking an active role in your healthcare, you can live a longer, healthier life.
Diabetes and Heart Disease: An Overview
Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause problems for people with diabetes. This high blood glucose (also called blood sugar) can damage many parts of the body, such as the:
- Blood vessels
Heart and blood vessel disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Through good diabetes care, you can do a lot to prevent or slow down these problems. Good diabetes care, among other things, means keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control.
This article uses the term "heart disease" to refer to both heart and blood vessel disease, also known as cardiovascular disease.
Statistics on Heart Disease and Diabetes
Consider the following statistics regarding diabetes and heart disease:
- Heart disease is a major complication and the leading cause of premature death among people with diabetes. At least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
- Middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes have the same high risk for heart attack as people without diabetes who already have had a heart attack.
- People with type 2 diabetes have high rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, which are major reasons for their two- to four-fold higher rates of heart disease.
- Ninety-seven percent of adults with type 2 diabetes have at least one lipid abnormality.
- About 70 percent of people with diabetes also have high blood pressure.
- Sticky blood platelets contribute to clotting problems and poor blood flow in people with diabetes.
- Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.
- Relatively small improvements in blood glucose, lipids, and blood pressure values result in decreased risk for diabetes complications.