Care for your heart, diabetics

  • Rhythma Kaul
  • Updated: Dec 23, 2015 17:09 IST

Strap: Heart disease is among the leading causes of death among diabetics/ heart attacks are more likely to cause death in people with diabetes

New Delhi:

Close to half of all people with diabetes are unaware of their condition and uncontrolled diabetes can wreak havoc on the heart.

“People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart diseases. One in two diabetics suffer from some heart disease. Yet people are largely ignorant of the co-relation,” said Dr Eugene Wright, a US-based primary care physician, earlier this month at the World Diabetes Congress in Vancuover, Canada.

Diabetes claimed an estimated five million lives in 2015 alone. And heart disease is among the leading causes of death among diabetics. Estimates show that a person with diabetes dies of heart disease every six seconds across the globe. Furthermore, heart attacks are more likely to cause death in people with diabetes, say doctors.

“High blood glucose levels over time lead to increased deposits of fatty materials on the insides of the blood vessel walls. These deposits may affect blood flow, increasing the chance of clogging and hardening of blood vessels,” says Dr Ambrish Mitthal, chairman of endocrinology and diabetes at Medanta, Gurgaon.

Apart from heart diseases, diabetes can also lead to a host of other complications, such as stroke, renal failure, nerve damage and vision loss, warn experts.

Keeping blood sugar levels within control and getting a regular health check-up done to minimise the risk of complications can help people living with diabetes lead a healthy life for decades after diagnosis.

“How the diabetes conversation is started when a person is diagnosed with diabetes goes a long way in shaping how well that person will manage diabetes,” says Dr Wright.

“The physician must discuss medicines, diet and exercise schedule to make sure people diagnosed know the importance of following a comprehensive treatment plan,” he says.


Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with raised blood sugar

Occurs when the pancreas does not produce or utilise insulin effectively

Type 1 diabetes: when body does not produce insulin at all

Type 2 diabetes: when body does not make enough insulin or can’t use it effectively

Risk Factors

* Family history: People with diabetes from both sides of the family are at increased risk

* Abdominal fat: Carrying extra weight around the waist—more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women

* High LDL (bad) cholesterol: This type of blood fat deposits on the inside of blood vessel walls, causing blockages

* High blood pressure: Hypertension strains the heart, damaging blood vessels

* Smoking: It constricts blood vessels

Diabetes and the heart

* One in two people with diabetes suffer from a heart disease

* Three in four diabetics are obese

* An equal number suffer from reduced libido

* Two in three diabetics have high blood pressure

Managing heart disease in diabetics

Maintain blood glucose level between 80 and 120 before meals, and 100 to 140 at bedtime

Lower blood lipids, including LDL “bad” cholesterol, to under 100 mg/dL,

Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL

Control blood pressure to keep it under 120/80 mmHg

Quit smoking

Have blood thinners to prevent the blood from clotting

Maintain a healthy weight

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