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Diabetes silently fuels heart disease

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Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes silently fuels heart disease

Diabetes over a period of time causes severe damage to the body if not managed properly. People with diabetes are prone to heart disease and kidney disease and the risk increases several times over a period of time. The complications that manifest owing to uncontrolled diabetes are the leading cause of mortality in people with diabetes and heart disease is one such complication.  Let us understand how diabetes leads to silent heart dysfunction and then to a silent heart attack.

Do you know?

  • In nearly about 70% of the people with diabetes, death may result due to heart disease, but not due to
    • diabetes itself.
  • The risk of heart disease and renal failure is three to four times higher in people with diabetes.
  • In nearly about 40% of the people with diabetes, renal failure develops and may prompt cardiac problems.
  • In nearly about 20% of the people who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes, the complications
    • related to heart disease will already be there at the time of diagnosis.
Diabetes and Heart Disease go hand in hand

Why diabetes is not good for your heart?

Diabetes is not good for your heart as it silently fuels coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy and heart failure. People with diabetes share the same amount of risk of developing heart disease without having any other risk factors. They share the risk equal to that of smokers, alcoholics and the ones with high cholesterol and blood pressure. Furthermore, the risk of developing heart disease increases manifold in diabetic individuals with the other risk factors like overweight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and kidney disease.

In a nutshell, if you have diabetes you may develop coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

Why diabetics are prone to heart disease?

Diabetic people have a high risk at an early age because abnormal blood sugar levels silently induce damage to the blood vessels and nerves and thus develop heart disease, which silently leads to a silent heart attack. Furthermore, a person with diabetes has a huge risk of developing complications related to heart if he or she has a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure with other risk factors like smoking, unhealthy diet and high cholesterol levels. Similarly, in obese individuals with diabetes who have high lipid and high blood pressure – atherosclerosis at a very young age may cause heart disease and heart attacks.

How are the results after angioplasty or bypass surgery in diabetic people?

In individuals with diabetes, the main cause for concern is that their heart disease is a silent affair as it may go undetected owing to lack of symptoms. Their heart disease may become diffused – which means they have multiple blocks in their arteries. Such a condition may lead to heart failure; in such cases, the complications associated with the bypass surgery or angioplasty are high as surgical and interventional procedures cannot be efficiently performed. Therefore, recovery is poor and complications are very high in cases with diffused heart disease.

What is the action plan to reduce the risk?

Lifestyle changes including losing weight, exercise, healthy diet, quitting smoking (if you smoke) that you do to control your diabetes are actually good for your heart as well. Owing to the several factors that contribute to the increasing incidences of heart-related deaths in diabetic patients, diabetic people need frequent heart checkups even if they don’t have any heart-disease-related symptoms.

Dr. Sanjeev Kumar

MBBS, DLO, MD (General Medicine), DM (Cardiology)

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist

Department of Cardiology

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