Firstly we need to know why diabetics get heart disease?
Link Between Diabetes and Heart Disease.
Having diabetes means you can not control the amount of glucose within your blood, too much glucose in the blood causes your veins and arteries to become hard and blocked over time. Heart disease is common in people with diabetes. Data from 2016 shows almost 7 in 10 people with diabetes over age 65 will die of some type of heart disease. About 1 in 6 will die of stroke
Signs Of Diabetic Heart Disease
The most common symptom of heart disease is chest pain (angina). You can also experience other symptoms, such as heart palpitations and unusual breathlessness. Some people may not have any symptoms before they are diagnosed.
Angina is a partial blocking of an artery near your heart, it can cause chest pains, pain in your arms, neck, shoulder or back, nausea, fatigue, sweating, and dizziness. It can be treated with nitrate, and usually calms down after 10 mins.
Heart Attack is a complete blockage of an artery near your heart, they can damage the heart muscle and need treatment from the hospital straight away. There is not much difference in the signs of a heart attack to the signs of angina, although the chest pain is often more severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. In some cases, there may not be any chest pain at all, especially in women, the elderly and people with diabetes. It’s the pattern of symptoms that help to determine whether you are having a heart attack.
Heart Failure usually develops gradually over many years, most often as the result of coronary artery disease, damage to the heart muscle from a previous heart attack, or a defective heart valve. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, persistent coughing, fatigue, chest pain, weight gain, or swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs. Heart failure cannot be cured, but it can be successfully managed. A number of effective drug treatments are available to keep heart failure in check
Early Signs That Could Lead To Heart Disease
Vascular Disease has the following symptoms:
- Cramping in your legs while walking (intermittent claudication) or hips or buttocks pain
- Cold feet.
- Decreased or absent pulses in the feet or legs.
- Loss of fat under the skin of the lower parts of the legs.
- Loss of hair on the lower parts of the legs. Or toes.
Preventing Heart Disease In Diabetics
The best way to prevent heart disease for a diabetic is to keep good control of your blood sugar levels. A 2001 study reported in the medical journal found that for every 1% rise in your glycosylated hemoglobin (HbAlc), the risk of heart failure increased by 8%. Control your blood pressure, keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control, watch your weight, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke and manage stress.
Medication To Prevent Heart Disease
Your doctor may prescribe medication for you to take to prevent heart disease or to slow down its progression. As a diabetic you will probably be prescribed a statin to reduce your cholesterol levels, aspirin to thin your blood preventing clots, and a blood pressure tablet.
Angina, heart attack or heart failure patients may be given antiplatelets that can help reduce the risk of a heart attack by thinning your blood and preventing it clotting, statins, beta-blockers, nitrates, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers or diuretics.
Risk Of Stroke With Diabetes
A diabetic with vascular disease is also more at risk of suffering from a stroke, If you have any of the following warning signs seek medical attention within 1 hour to minimize permanent damage;
- sudden weakness or numbness of your face, arm, or leg on one side of your body
- confusion, or trouble talking or understanding
- dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- trouble seeing out of one or both eyes
- sudden severe headache
Heart Disease is a major complication of diabetes, the chances of you getting heart disease can be minimized by keeping your glucose levels on target and by following a healthy lifestyle. If you are prescribed a medication by your doctor to prevent heart disease or to help with a heart condition, please make sure to take them.