How Diabetes Contributes To Heart Disease

Posted on: 8 March 2016

Your last visit with your physician showed that you were pre-diabetic. They suggested focusing on diet changes, your weight and stress level before your diagnosis changes to active diabetes. One motivation to follow the recommendations of your medical care team is the impact that diabetes has on your heart's health. Here is what you need to know about diabetes and your heart.


The principal symptom of diabetes, high blood sugar, becomes a factor in how this disease affects the health of your heart. When you have an elevated blood sugar level in the blood, fatty materials can be deposited on the walls of your blood vessels. This narrows the opening in the blood vessels, restricting the amount of blood flowing through them. When these deposits occur in the special blood vessels that nourish the heart, called the coronary arteries, the heart muscle can become starved.

Initially, you may experience mild chest pain when you physically exert yourself. This pain is called angina and is a warning sign that worse issues will follow if you don't have the problem addressed soon. Should one or more of the coronary arteries become completely blocked, you could have a massive and potentially fatal heart attack.

Secondary Heart Issues Caused By Diabetes

While atherosclerosis is the most common heart problem caused by your diabetes, other issues related to this disease contribute to your heart's health.

Hypertension - High blood pressure puts an additional burden on the heart muscle. If the heart is already feeling the impact of restrictive blood vessels, high blood pressure requires the heart to work harder, which puts you at an even greater risk of a heart attack.

High Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels - Diabetes increases the risk of these materials being higher in the bloodstream. When your cholesterol and triglycerides are out of balance with the normal levels, additional fatty deposits occur on the blood vessel walls. This restricts the blood flow to the heart even more.

Weight Gain - Diabetes has a direct impact on how your body uses insulin. Insulin is necessary for the processing of sugar in your diet and diabetes prevents your body from using insulin effectively. The result is an increase in your body's fat, which becomes deposited throughout the body. Weight gain increases the burden on your heart.

Controlling Your Diabetes Reduces These Heart Problems

The key to preventing heart problems due to your diabetes is to keep the disease under control. Your doctor will recommend a comprehensive health plan that, if followed, will keep your hearty healthy. This plan may include:

  • Medication to control your blood sugar levels
  • Medication to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Diet changes to lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Exercise programs to reduce weight
  • Smoking cessation program

For more information contact a doctor at a clinic like Hightstown Medical Associates.