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Thursday, 11 January 2018 16:03

Diabetes and Your Heart

Having diabetes means that you are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of a heart attack or a stroke. People with diabetes are also more likely to have certain conditions, or risk factors, that increase the chances of having heart disease or stroke, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Over time, high blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chances that you will develop heart disease.

In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke. Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes.1

According to the American Heart Association2, The following statistics show that there is a strong correlation between cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

  • At least 68 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease; and 16% die of stroke.
  • Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.
  • The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Risk Factors

If you have diabetes, other factors add to your chances of developing heart disease or having a stroke.

  • Smoking
    Smoking raises your risk of developing heart disease. If you have diabetes, it is important to stop smoking because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels. Click here to learn about the dangers of cigarette smoking to your heart.
  • High blood pressure/Hypertension
    If you have high blood pressure, your heart must work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can strain your heart, damage blood vessels, and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, eye problems, and kidney problems.
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
    Cholesterol is a type of fat produced by your liver and found in your blood. You have two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk of developing heart disease. Click here to learn more about cholesterol and your heart.
  • Obesity and belly fat
    Being overweight or obese can affect your ability to manage your diabetes and increase your risk for many health problems, including heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, eating a heart-healthy diet often will lower your glucose levels and reduce your need for medications. Even if you are a normal weight, excess belly fat can raise your risk for heart disease.
  • Family history of heart disease
    A family history of heart disease may also add to your chances of developing heart disease. You can’t change whether heart disease runs in your family, but if you have diabetes, it’s even more important to take steps to protect yourself from heart disease and decrease your chances of having a stroke.


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Diabetes can affect many major organs in your body, which can lead to an array of serious complications when left untreated. Medical problems affecting your heart include:

The good news is that diabetes is treatable and often preventable.

If you have diabetes, it’s very important to make sure that you control your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels to help reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.

To do this you can:

  • Be more physically active
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Control your weight, and
  • Give up smoking


1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014
2American Heart Association, Cardiovascular Disease & Diabetes



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