The Relationship Between Diabetes and Heart Disease

Did you know that diabetes and heart disease are linked? If you’re living with diabetes, chances are you’re at higher risk for heart disease than you might think. The good news is there are ways to reduce the risks and lessen your chances of developing heart disease. 

Diabetes risks

In adults with diabetes, the most common causes of death are heart disease and stroke. In fact, adults with diabetes are more than twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke than people without diabetes.

High blood glucose can damage your circulatory system over time, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s a risk factor even for people who manage their diabetes well, especially if they have other risk factors as well. 

Other risk factors

Several other conditions and lifestyle factors can further increase your risk of heart disease if you’re dealing with diabetes already. These are particularly applicable for those with Type 2 diabetes.

  • High blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes or insulin resistance are a very common combination. Cardiovascular disease risk doubles with these two combined.
  • Abnormal cholesterol. People with diabetes are more likely to have elevated levels of cholesterol, including high LDL and high triglycerides. They also often have lower levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. 
  • Smoking. Smoking increases risk factors for many different health problems, and heart disease is no different. Diabetes only amplifies this risk.
  • Lack of physical activity and obesity. Cardiovascular health and diabetes both are tied to lack of physical activity and obesity. All of those go together hand in hand.

Learning how to live with diabetes can be hard, and taking the extra effort to lower the other risk factors can be harder. It’s worth the effort, though. 

You can live a healthier life and lower your risk of cardiovascular incidents by controlling these risk factors as much as possible. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of vegetables, lean proteins and fruit
  • Get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week
  • Talk to your doctor about your cholesterol and blood pressure

Ready to proactively manage your risk factors? Contact Oklahoma Heart Hospital today to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists. We can help you manage your heart disease risk.