Diabetes and Your Heart

Diabetes Mellitus is a common condition in which there is too much sugar in the blood. High blood pressure and smoking cigarettes can contribute to heart problems, along with having high cholesterol (fats in your blood) and being overweight. Your heart is a big muscle that circulates blood through your body. Your blood carries oxygen to all of your organs, something that is necessary for life. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. In people who do not have diabetes, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into the cells. However, diabetes develops when the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly, or both. As a result, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while the cells are starved of energy. Over time, high blood glucose levels damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death among people with diabetes.

Having diabetes significantly increases your risk for developing heart disease. Diabetes often causes your cholesterol and triglyceride levels to be higher than normal and increases your blood pressure. It’s very important that you talk with your primary care physician about ways to manage your diabetes and control other risk factors associated with diabetes. Diabetes is a treatable disease, but it’s important to have regular visits with your doctor to ensure you are managing diabetes effectively. It’s important to control your weight and cholesterol with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet and regular exercise. You also have to lower your blood pressure, and if you smoke, you need to quit.