Manage Diabetes by Taking Care of Your Heart
Editor’s note: In this, the ninth article in our year-long series on diabetes, learn about diabetes’ most serious complication.
Diabetes and heart disease are closely linked. What is harmful for diabetes almost always makes heart disease worse; and vice versa. Both diseases are partly caused by, as well as helped by, lifestyle choices. Let’s examine this close relationship.
Diabetes is a complex disease. It can cause many complications, including blindness, amputations, kidney disease, and problems with teeth, skin and nerves. The most serious problem caused by diabetes is heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease (CVD).
If you have diabetes, your risk for heart disease or stroke is two to four times greater than for non diabetics. In fact, more than 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Even when people with diabetes have their glucose levels under control, they still have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. According to the National Institutes of Health, that’s because they are more likely to have:
High blood pressure (hypertension), common in people with diabetes, doubles the risk for heart disease.
High blood fat (lipids) levels, including high LDL cholesterol, low HDL (the “good” type of cholesterol) and high triglycerides. Cholesterol problems are also common in people with premature heart disease.
Obesity – being overweight causes harmful changes to the heart and is closely linked to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance (also called impaired insulin sensitivity) is a lipid disorder associated with diabetes Continue reading