What You Should Know About Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes
We’ve all heard about heart disease, but what do you need to know about this condition if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic?
According to the National Heart Association, 65% of people with diabetes will die from heart disease or a stroke. If you’re currently diabetic or pre-diabetic, you are in a higher risk category, so you need to understand how to mitigate your risk.
That means asking important questions so you know:
- How does type 2 diabetes affect your heart?
- What is diabetic heart disease?
- What are the symptoms?
- Which are the main causes of diabetes and heart disease?
- How much does diabetes increase the risk of heart disease?
- Does diabetes clog your arteries?
- Which types of Heart Disease are Linked to Type 2 Diabetes?
While certain factors of developing diabetes or heart disease are genetic, there are many risk factors we can actively control. The first step is knowing what diabetic heart disease is, how it affects you, and how you can control it.
What Is Diabetic Heart Disease?
Diabetic Heart Disease occurs in diabetic individuals who then develop heart disease. This situation is very common when one disease leads to the next, as they compound, and is known as a comorbidity.
Comorbidities do not have to be fatal. You can live with a disease for life, and be healthy too, if you manage it well with diet, medications, exercise, etc.. However, due to comorbidities, pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals do have a higher chance of developing heart disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Heart Disease?
Symptoms are physical and emotional states that you feel and that you would describe to a medical professional. You can feel symptoms, even if a test does not show that anything is wrong. Itchiness is a symptom, for example, but it is very difficult to determine with testing. With diabetes and heart disease, testing works excellently!
Symptoms of diabetic heart disease include the following:
- Damaged blood vessels
- Damaged nerves around the heart and blood vessels
- High blood pressure
- Increased LDL cholesterol
- Increased triglyceride levels in your blood
How Do I Know If I Have Diabetes?
These symptoms are only testable with a simple blood test. However, you can make healthy lifestyle decisions that will lower your chances of developing heart disease:
- Improve your diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Reduce your processed sugar intake. Drink water to curb your hunger.
- Exercise more. Even low-intensity exercise, like walking more or wearing a five-pound weight vest, will improve your health. You do not need to be a bodybuilder, spending hours a day in the gym, to start seeing results!
- Sleep more. Sleeping more improves your immune system, reduces stress, and helps you recover from workouts.
If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, talk to your medical provider about running routine testing to manage your diabetes and detect early warning signs for heart disease.
What Are the Main Reasons for Diabetes and Heart Disease?
Different types of diabetes exist. Type 1 is genetic. Type 2 is acquired. Type 3, or gestational diabetes, can occur in some women during pregnancy.
Pre-diabetic people do not have diabetes, but they can develop diabetes if they do not improve their lifestyle and lower their risk factors.
Who Develops Diabetes and Heart Disease? Who is Affected?
Heart disease can affect anyone. Sometimes, it is genetic. Sometimes, it is acquired (smoking cigarettes increases your risk). Pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals may be more likely to develop heart disease later on in life.
The best action you can do for your health, regardless of your current health profile, is to improve your eating, exercise, and sleep habits. Even drinking one less can of cola or eating one less candy bar per day makes a massive difference long-term.
How Much Does Diabetes Increase Risk of Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a form of cardiovascular disease. Pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals are more likely to display cardiovascular disease symptoms. Almost 70% of diabetic senior citizens will die from heart disease in America. Compared to non-diabetic adults, diabetic adults are much more likely to die from heart disease.
Can I Control My Risk Factors For Developing Heart Disease?
The good news is that, especially in the early stages of diabetes, the risk of developing heart disease is controllable. One of the controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease is to control your diabetes.
Exercises, eating healthy foods, and reducing stressors and activities like smoking cigarettes can reduce medical complications related to diabetes and heart disease.
With our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together Facebook group, you can find healthy lifestyle tips and the support you need to help prevent the onset of diabetes and heart disease and to help you live your best life!
How Does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Your Heart?
Individuals with Type 2 diabetes, like any diabetic individual, are more likely to develop heart disease. These two illnesses are linked in multiple ways. Both illnesses are defined by:
- Increased insulin resistance
- Increased inflammation
- High blood sugars
Both are treatable, and both can be managed, but having both illnesses is more severe than only having either heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.
How Long Can You Live With Heart Disease and Diabetes?
Diabetes and heart disease are known as chronic illnesses. "Chronic" means that individuals who have diabetes and heart disease have them for a long time, or for life.
This situation may seem scary at first, but it doesn’t need to be. You can live a long and otherwise healthy life, even with symptoms or a diagnosis of diabetes and heart disease.
Can I Live a Healthy Lifestyle, Even With Heart Disease and Diabetes?
Many guides exist on how you can best manage your health while living with heart disease and diabetes. It is, in many ways, like living with a bee allergy. If you avoid bees and carry an EpiPen, you can live a long life without worry.
The same is true for diabetes and heart disease. You now know how your health will be affected in certain situations, and you can take measures to protect yourself while also improving your lifestyle at the same time.
Does Diabetes Cause Clogged Arteries?
Diabetes can lead to clogged, or blocked, arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. "Athero" means arteries, and "sclerosis" means hardening or thickening.
What is the Link Between Clogged Arteries and Diabetes?
Here is how diabetes can cause clogged arteries:
- Diabetes leads to high blood sugar in your body
- High blood sugar damages blood vessels (arteries are blood vessels that pump blood away from your heart to your lungs and the rest of your body)
- Damaged arteries can become clogged
- Clogged arteries prevent blood from flowing, which your body needs to survive, and can lead to myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke
The key to preventing clogged arteries as much as possible is to control your diabetes as early as possible. Talk to your doctor about the best course of action for you.
Types of Heart Disease Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
There are many different types of "heart disease" because the heart can be affected differently.
Heart disease can refer to:
- Coronary artery disease, which affects the blood vessels
- Arrhythmias, which affects heart rhythms
- Congenital heart defects, which are heart problems you are born with
- Heart valve disease, where at least one heart valve doesn't work as intended
- Cardiomyopathy, where the heart muscle is diseased
- Heart infection
Type 2 diabetes can affect of these heart disease types because even being pre-diabetic is enough to increase your risk of developing heart disease.
CuraLife: Take Care of Your Health and Join Our Passionate Community
At CuraLife, we understand the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes and heart disease, while manageable long-term, are best avoided. By improving your diet and exercise, you can significantly prevent these illnesses from occurring.
This article highlighted the similarities and differences between diabetes and heart disease's effects on the heart, but this article is only the beginning.For more information on healthy living and controlling and treating diabetes and heart disease, join our free diabetes support group: Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together.