Question

Diabetes Complications

How does diabetes affect my risk of heart disease or stroke?

A Answers (3)

  • People with diabetes have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or stroke. These strike people with diabetes more than twice as often as people without diabetes.

    There's a big link between diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also called cardiovascular disease. Clogged blood vessels can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other problems.
  • If you have diabetes, you're prone to having too much glucose (sugar) in your blood. This extra blood glucose can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. In fact, about 2/3 of people with diabetes die from a heart attack or stroke. Controlling your blood glucose levels can help prevent these and other complications.

    Even if you don't have diabetes, your blood glucose levels may be higher than normal -- a condition often called prediabetes. Studies show that regular exercise, a healthy diet, and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce blood glucose levels and delay diabetes -- or even prevent it.
  • AAnthony Komaroff, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    The link between diabetes and heart disease is very strong. An adult diagnosed with diabetes has the same high cardiac risk as someone who has already had a heart attack. Everyone with diabetes, regardless of type or when it was diagnosed, has reason for concern. At least 65% of people with diabetes will die from some type of cardiovascular disease -- a death rate that is two to four times that of the general population.

    Many experts suspect that the long-term elevated blood sugar and low-grade inflammation seen in diabetes damage the coronary arteries, speeding the process of atherosclerosis. Heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems are not only more common in people with diabetes, but they occur earlier in life and are more likely to be fatal than in people without diabetes.
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