Modern Heart and Vascular Institute
Rajiv Agarwal, MD
Cardiovascular Specialist & Board Certified Cardiologist located in Humble, TX, Katy, TX & Cleveland, TX
Diabetes and Heart Health
Diabetes plays a big role in your heart health. People with diabetes are at least twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke due to several factors. Understanding the connection between diabetes and heart disease can help you manage your condition and lower the risks. At Modern Heart and Vascular, we’re dedicated to providing our patients with first-class cardiovascular information and the care they need.
What Is Diabetes?
Several types of diabetes exist, but broadly speaking, it is a disease that affects your blood’s glucose levels. Your body uses glucose, or blood sugar, as energy. Most people naturally produce the hormone insulin, which moves glucose from the blood to the cells. However, a lack of enough or any insulin prevents glucose from leaving a diabetic person’s blood and results in high blood sugar. Type 1 and Type 2 are the most common forms of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
With Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. This is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system prevents your pancreas from creating insulin through immune attack. Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes because it most typically appears in children and young adults, but it can start at any age. Type 1 diabetics must take insulin every day.
Type 2 Diabetes
A person with Type 2 diabetes does not make or use insulin properly. This impairment leads to high blood sugar and other complications. Type 2 diabetes can appear at any age but most often begins in people over 45. Obesity is also a significant risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Complications Associated With Heart Health
Diabetes is closely associated with cardiovascular disease. Chronically high blood sugar damages your blood vessels over time and can lead to heart-related complications like heart attacks, strokes and coronary artery disease. Conditions related to diabetes, such as high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, also strain your heart and increase your cardiovascular risks.
Causes of Diabetes
Diabetes develops when the immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. The exact cause of this autoimmune disease is unknown, but experts believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors plays a role. Obesity is a significant risk factor for developing Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes, although not everyone with Type 2 diabetes is overweight.
Treatment of Diabetes
While there is no cure for diabetes, you can manage your condition. People with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes must monitor their blood sugar levels to make sure they stay healthy. Treatment plans may include medication, such as aspirin and statins to decrease the risk of cardiovascular complications. You can also manage diabetes through surgery, diet and exercise.
Prevention of Diabetes
You can help prevent diabetes with many of the same strategies used to manage the condition, including lifestyle changes. Eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce your blood pressure, improve your heart’s condition and lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Smoking is also a major factor in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If this applies to you, get help to quit smoking and protect your heart.
To learn more about diabetes and heart health, reach out to Modern Heart and Vascular and request an appointment today.
This article does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.