By Sunil Gupta, MD, FACC
Premier Heart and Vascular Center, Wesley Chapel

During National Diabetes Month, we want to raise awareness of a critical problem with diabetes that many people often forget: Diabetes can significantly affect your heart health.

In fact, people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from a heart problem than those without diabetes.

The Link Between Diabetes and Heart Attack

Sixteen percent of people older than 65 who have diabetes will die of stroke, and 68 percent of diabetics older than 65 will die from some form of heart disease.

Diabetic patients have higher blood glucose levels. These higher levels damage blood vessels, the nerves that control them, and the heart. For these reasons, if you have diabetes, you are more likely to suffer from a heart issue as well. And the longer you have diabetes, the higher your risk.

Coupled with your diabetes, other factors and life choices can increase your chances of developing a heart condition like sudden cardiac arrest. These include:

  • Family history of heart conditions
  • Smoking
  • High LDL cholesterol levels
  • High triglycerides
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Belly fat
  • Lack of activity

Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke

As a diabetic, you have higher chances of suffering from a heart condition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to improve your health.

First, if you’re a smoker, you need to stop as soon as possible.

Be consistent in following your diabetes ABCs, as this will reduce your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Also strive each day to eat healthily, be active, keep a normal weight, and get enough sleep.

Keeping your stress levels as low as you can is also beneficial to your heart health.

Also be consistent in taking the medications your doctor prescribes. They help with your blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels, but they can also reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.

As you can see, diabetes has a direct and significant influence on your overall heart health, but you have the power to impact your health and lower your risks.

At Premier Heart and Vascular, we work every day with patients who are battling diabetes. We want to help you live your best life as well. If you have any questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to ask.