Every year 68% individuals above the age of 65 years die of Diabetes. Those with diabetes have been found to be two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or cerebrovascular accidents compared to non-diabetics. Having diabetes and heart disease can prove to be a deadly combination. It increases mortality by almost 500% according to a global study. These statistics show that there is a strong correlation between diabetes and heart diseases. In fact, American Heart Association even considers diabetes to be a controllable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
What are the risks?
A research led by physicians at UConn Health found that patients suffering with both Type II diabetes and congestive heart failure were 50% likely to die in the next 18 months. The prognosis was worse for patients with coronary artery diseases. The overall scenario is still graver for those presenting severe heart diseases with diabetes. Moreover, certain medications used to control diabetes like insulin may actually damage the heart and affect the heart health. Hence, newer drugs like Alogliptin are under trial for diabetes care in place of conventional medicines. Metabolic syndrome is a common starting point that leads to the development of both diabetes and heart problems at some point in life. Controlling it on time is crucial.
Despite controlling blood sugar, certain factors make it inevitable to prevent a heart problem. The conditions contributing to increased cardiovascular risk are:
1. Hypertension: High blood pressure has twin adverse effects. On one side it increases insulin resistance and on the other it potentiates the risk for heart diseases. Hypertension and diabetes is a common combination and has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases almost two-fold.
2. Obesity: It is common knowledge that obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. But it also increases insulin resistance. Losing weight helps in boosting insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of heart problems.
3. High Cholesterol and triglycerides: Patients with diabetes have been repoted to have abnormally high cholesterol, low HDL and high LDL and triglycerides. A poor lipid profile coupled with diabetes has a strong association with premature coronary artery disease. It also induces insulin resistance and atherogenic dyslipidemia, which is together known as diabetic dyslipidemia.
4. Dearth of physical workout: Physical activity can reduce insulin resistance and the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Losing weight and regular exercise can delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, reduce blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. It can also reduce risk of heart attack and stroke. Moderate exercise of minimum 30 minutes for 5 days a week or vigorous activity of 25 minutes for 2 days a week can help you achieve a better health.
5. Smoking habits: Smoking puts individuals at a greater risk of heart diseases, whether with or without diabetes.
Dr. White, a researcher in this field, emphasizes that heart diseases are by no means inevitable in diabetic patients. Thus, in all patients of heart diseases and diabetes, proper scrutiny and heart care is must. They should receive the same importance and observation as stroke, heart attack and grave diseases like unstable angina. Proper heart care and diabetes care and control can go a long way in preventing fatal complications.