Living with diabetes can be a tough challenge. Aside from the disease itself, diabetics also have to worry about developing other illnesses. Diabetes increases the risk of developing other diseases such as heart problems. In fact, the risk of heart failure increases when you are sick with this metabolic disease, which is why plenty of diabetics take their medicine for diabetes religiously.
Diabetes and heart problems are a dangerous combination. Unfortunately, there is a big possibility that you might develop heart diseases if you are sick with diabetes. Be vigilant and equip yourself with the information that would prepare you against this. Here are some of the heart problems linked with diabetes that you have to be aware of.
Coronary Heart Disease
Diabetes affects different parts of the body, even your blood vessels. It is important that you manage your disease properly. Otherwise, it might hurt your blood vessels, making them prone to the damage caused by atherosclerosis. What is atherosclerosis? The heart is supplied by oxygen-rich blood through the coronary arteries. Unfortunately, there are instances when plaque builds up inside these arteries, a condition that is called atherosclerosis. This results to coronary heart disease.
The build-up of plaque has several effects. One of them is the narrowing of the arteries, which causes the blood flow to the heart muscle to decline. Plaques also result to the formation of blood clots in the coronary arteries. This is very dangerous because it can partially or completely block the blood flow to your heart. CHD leads to different problems such as chest pain, irregular heartbeats, heart failure, and death.
There are instances wherein diabetes damages the structure and function of the heart – a disease called diabetic cardiomyopathy. If you don’t have any idea how the heart functions, here’s how: The heart has four chambers; the two on top are called atria while the two below are called ventricles. Every time your heart beats, the atria contract to fill your ventricles with blood. Afterwards, it’s the ventricles’ turn to contract and fill your atria with blood.
When you have diabetic cardiomyopathy, problems arise in your heart’s structure or the way it functions. The way that your left ventricle fills with blood might become impaired or it might become enlarged. In other cases, high blood glucose levels causes myocardial fibrosis or the scarring of the thick middle layer of your myocardium (heart wall). Like coronary heart disease, diabetic cardiomyopathy can also result to heart failure.
Over time, coronary heart disease weakens the heart muscle, which leads to heart failure. If you have this condition, it doesn’t mean that your heart is no longer working. Instead, your heart muscle has become so weak that it is unable to pump enough blood to your body.
When you have heart failure, the blood circulates in your body at a slower rate. This increases the pressure in your heart, making it difficult to pump oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. Symptoms of heart failure include congested lungs, fluid and water retention, dizziness, fatigue, and rapid or irregular heartbeats.
Diabetes often increases the risk of developing other complications such as heart diseases. Equip yourself with necessary information by taking note of the three heart problems linked to diabetes that are stated above.