Diabetes and heart problems
Diabetes is a cardiovascular risk factor that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It affects more than 20 million Americans and around 40 million suffers from pre-diabetes (early Type 2 diabetes).
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) concentration.
It is caused by the malfunction of the pancreas that stops producing a hormone called insulin.
Diabetes may be caused by genetic factors or environmental factors such as obesity, especially abdominal fat or central fat and lack of physical activity.
In the human body, insulin, produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, transports glucose to the inside of the muscles, to the adipose cells and to the liver cells.
This will be used as energy or stored in the form of glycogen in the muscles to carry out the vital processes for our organism.
When the pancreas does not produce insulin or do so insufficiently, glucose instead of penetrating the cells remains circulating in the blood, increasing blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
Three types of diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: It is considered an autoimmune disease due to the destruction of the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. It requires daily injections of insulin, as the body does not produce enough insulin. 10% of the cases of diabetes are of this type. It may appear at any age, but is often diagnosed more frequently in children, adolescents, or young adults.
The exact cause is unknown.
Type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus: This is due to the inability of the organism to use insulin. 90% of diabetics are of this type. Although it is more frequent in adulthood, its prevalence has increased among adolescents and young adults due to obesity.
Many people who suffer from this type of diabetes do not know that they suffer from this disease because it does not produce symptoms in their early stages.
Gestational Diabetes: Starts or recognizes for the first time during pregnancy. It’s due to high blood sugar.
Diabetes and heart problems
Several studies show that there is a higher incidence of coronary artery disease among diabetics than among people who do not suffer from the disease.
In fact, it is considered that the cardiovascular risk of a diabetic is equal to that of a person who has suffered a heart attack.
But how does diabetes affect the heart? Excess blood sugar gradually damages blood vessels. It injures the wall of the arteries, which facilitates the deposit of cholesterol and accelerates the process of arteriosclerosis.
The plates of atheroma are made more numerous and serious. This increases the risk of suffering from angina pectoris or acute myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death.
Their severity depends on the blood glucose levels, that is, the concentration of sugar in the bloodstream.
In addition, excess glucose favors inflammation, which increases the risk of clot formation, raising the risk of cerebrovascular disease and affecting the peripheral arteries.
If diabetes is also accompanied by other cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and overweight, having high blood pressure, excess LDL cholesterol increases the cardiovascular risk considerably.
Other consequences of diabetes
Diabetes can damage different organs:
Eyes: Loss of progressive vision that can lead to blindness.
Kidneys: Kidney dysfunction that can lead to dialysis
Peripheral nervous system: affecting the sensitivities of the lower limbs, which
ses a serious risk of ulcers and amputations.
Autonomic nervous system: digestive, urinary and sexual disorders (impotence) and alterations of the arteries of the lower extremities with risk of amputations.
Diagnosis of Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends a fasting glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test from 45 years, especially if you are obese or overweight to detect pre-diabetes or diabetes and to take Measures before it affects the health of the heart.
Treatment of Diabetes
There is No cure for diabetes, as it is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment.
Type 2 diabetes requires weight control, physical exercise, blood glucose control with a proper diet and oral antidiabetics. Feeding is crucial in therapy in this type of diabetes that does not need insulin (except in cases of long duration and when associated with other serious illnesses).
It is important to prevent and control other risk factors related to diabetes such as obesity, high cholesterol levels or hypertension to reduce cardiovascular risk.