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Heart and vascular disease often go hand-in-hand with diabetes. Persons with diabetes are at a much greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Other vascular problems due to diabetes include poor circulation to the legs and feet. Unfortunately, many of the cardiovascular problems can go undetected and can start early in life.
Persons with diabetes often experience changes in the blood vessels that can lead to cardiovascular disease. In persons with diabetes, the linings of the blood vessels may become thicker, making it more difficult for blood to flow through the vessels. When blood flow is impaired, heart problems or stroke can occur. Blood vessels can also suffer damage elsewhere in the body due to diabetes, leading to eye problems, kidney problems, and poor circulation to the legs and feet that can lead to gangrene (tissue death), which may require amputation.
Diabetes doubles your risks for heart disease and stroke, according to the National Institutes of Health. Having diabetes also means you may develop these problems at a younger age. High blood sugar levels can lead to deposits of fat on the inside of blood vessel walls, increasing your chances of narrowed, hardened and/or clogged blood vessels. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best ways to lower your risks for heart disease.
Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease than nondiabetic people, and at least 65% of these patients will die from their heart disease.
The most important advice for the diabetic patient is to control modifiable risk factors for heart disease with the following actions:
- Stop smoking.
- Lower your blood pressure.
- Control your weight.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease and heart attack. In this video, Ronald Tamler, MD, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, discusses the connection between the two diseases.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.